Preliminary agreement signed. Boosting value chains for global decarbonization.
South Korea and the Australian state of Western Australia plan to cooperate on research into critical minerals such as lithium and rare earths. A preliminary deal was reached Wednesday between the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia and the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources, Reuters writes.
Extraction and processing of raw materials for the global decarbonization efforts needs a transformational change, the news agency quotes Australia’s Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston as saying. Both countries are also seeking to make their value chains less dependent on China, the world’s largest producer of rare earths. To this end, South Korea’s government wants to increase the proportion of recycled materials and cooperate more closely with resource-rich countries. In addition to Australia, partnerships have already been concluded with Mongolia and Vietnam.
For Australia, which is establishing itself as a major supplier of raw materials outside China, the People’s Republic is the most important trading partner to date, but diplomatic relations have been strained in recent years. Through new cooperation with India and the EU, for example, the Australian government wants to diversify investment and trade relations. It also recently restricted Chinese investments in the domestic rare earths company Northern Minerals, according to Reuters.
For its part, China is investing in research and industry around the critical raw materials in order to secure its leading position on the world market for rare earths and to counter growing competition, as we reported.