Australian Minister: International Cooperation Crucial to Hedge Against China’s Monopoly

by | 14. Apr 2023 - 11:12 | Economy

Australia could play a key role in both the extraction and processing of critical minerals and rare earth elements, according to the country’s Minister for Resources, Madeline King.

At the Darwin Dialogue on Critical Minerals and Rare Earth Elements, Australian Minister for Resources, Madeline King said the country could play a key role in the mining and processing of critical minerals and Rare Earth Elements (REE). To limit the dependency on China, countries around the globe are scrambling to establish new sources of critical minerals and REEs. Since last year, Australia has signed agreements with Germany, Japan, India, and the UK to increase cooperation and investments into Australia’s critical minerals and REE downstream infrastructure.

Australia is the world’s largest supplier of lithium and a significant producer of REEs. And the expertise of Australian mining companies is in high demand internationally. King however emphasized China’s unrivaled position, especially in the processing of REEs. Market concentration, combined with COVID-19-based disruptions of global supply chains, rising energy costs, and increasing geopolitical tensions culminate in an unreliable REE market. Yet, the recently established agreements “can build new, diverse, resilient and sustainable supply chains as part of a global hedge against concentration,” King said.

Amidst the surge of newly formed partnerships, Australian mining company Arafura Rare Earths announced on Tuesday the cooperation with Spanish wind turbine manufacturer Siemens Gamesa. Arafura will supply Siemens Gamesa with REEs from 2026 onward when the Nolans rare earths project in northern Australia is scheduled to start production.

Photo: iStock/jasonbennee

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