Australia and the US have signed an agreement that also covers important minerals. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese described the “climate, critical minerals and clean energy deal” in parliament as “an ambitious deal”. One of the declared goals is to improve the sustainable supply and processing of critical minerals.
“Significant Opportunity for Australia”
The agreement includes clean energy supply and the development of green hydrogen, battery technologies and other energy products. “It’s about creating an enormous opportunity for Australia,” Albanese told media representatives after the Quad Group (which includes India and Japan along with the two countries) summit in Hiroshima on Sunday.
In a statement released by the White House On the issue of critical minerals, it says the agreement aims to improve the availability of critical minerals in both countries. To this end, mutual investments between the financial sectors of Australia and the United States are to be expanded. Actions still to be decided include government financing agencies including the US Export-Import Bank and Export Finance Australia.
Australia’s government boosts funding for critical minerals by A$50 million
The Australian government has also decided to increase development grants for critical minerals projects by AUD$50 million. These grants will be used to diversify supply chains, create domestic processing and regional development.
According to Resources Minister Madeleine King, the projects will help make Australia a “clean energy superpower”. It offers opportunities for all of Australia.
However, most projects are located in Western Australia (WA). Here A$29.15 million has been committed to companies including Magnesium Australia to commercialize its CSIRO-patented clean magnesium metal extraction technology and Northern Minerals to support its Browns Range heavy rare earths project.
13 projects in 3 states
In New South Wales, Australian Strategic Materials was awarded A$6.5 million for its Dubbo project, which supports mining, separation and refining. In Queensland, Evolution Mining was allocated A$2.2 million to support its Ernest Henry Cobalt operation. A total of 13 projects are funded in three states.
These grants support Australia’s announced critical minerals strategy. According to King, the now increased Complex Minerals Development Program grants are intended to support projects for lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and supply chains for applications in the aerospace, medical, energy and defense sectors.
“Significant Potential” for Important Minerals
According to the minister, Down Under has “significant potential” to meet the growing demand for critical minerals.
Australia is one of the largest suppliers of lithium used in electric car batteries. Rare earths are also produced in the country. Overseas customers are increasingly interested in Australian products as many countries try to reduce their dependence on China.
A comprehensive agreement with India is also planned
Meanwhile, Australia wants to reduce its dependence on exports to the Middle Kingdom. By far, China has been the largest trading partner.
So Albanese held talks with his Indian counterpart Modi over the weekend. It was decided to set up a hydrogen working group. According to Modi, the two countries have discussed increasing cooperation in mining and critical minerals and will now work towards a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement. India is currently Australia’s sixth largest trading partner.
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