Rare Earths: Cooperation Expected Between Japan and Saudi Arabia

by | 17. Jul 2023 - 10:21 | Politics

The two countries could jointly develop raw materials in the future.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman met for talks in Jeddah on Sunday. It is expected that the two countries could conclude agreements in the rare earths sector to jointly tackle development projects in third countries, Nikkei Asia reported ahead of the meeting. Japan is expected to offer support to the major oil producer in developing other minerals such as copper and zinc, the report added. On its trip through the Middle East, with stops in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar, Japan wants to offer its potential partners Japanese technologies for achieving the goal of “net zero emissions” in return for raw materials, Reuters reports.

Japan needs rare earths to achieve its national goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2050 and, as a resource-poor country, is dependent on deposits outside its own borders. Oil-rich Saudi Arabia has for some time been pursuing efforts to develop new energy sources and mineral resources, particularly in times of a shift to green alternatives, to become less dependent on the domestic oil and gas industry. The country also has its own deposits of important raw materials such as rare earths, gold, copper, and zinc and expects to attract many foreign investors in the future thanks to its supposedly large raw material potential (we reported). In the Middle East, for example, the country has already been courting Australian investment to benefit from Australia’s know-how in the mining industry. Some major raw materials companies such as Rio Tinto or the rare earth specialist Lynas are based there.

Photo: iStock/Oleksii Liskonih

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