Australia looks to capitalise on US need for ‘critical metals
- Australia is set to sign a preliminary deal with the US to support joint research and development of minerals deemed critical to the US economy, according to government minister. Diversification looks to reduce the dependence on supply for 35 minerals consumed across high-tech industries amid a festering trade war with China.
- Resource minister Matt Canavan said “this week I will sign a letter of intent with my counterpart…on critical minerals. (This) will mean Geoscience Australia and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) will work closely on exploration, extraction, processing and research and development,”, referring to the arms of respective governments that handle minerals exploration.
- “For 14 of those 35 critical minerals, we are in the top fiver (holders) of world reserves, so they are the ones we’d like to focus on”. The list includes lithium fundamental for rechargeable batteries, alongside rare earths such as neodymium, gallium, bauxite and alumina.
- China dominates supply, with the nation supplying more than 80% of global requirements for rare earths.