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US talks to strengthen trade in critical minerals

15 November 2019

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan will use high-level talks in the United States over the coming week to promote Australia as an emerging producer of critical minerals and a reliable global supplier of resources and energy.

Minister Canavan is travelling to the US for talks with senior members of the US Government and to meet executives of major mining, manufacturing and resources companies.

He will meet Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and US Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt to promote Australia’s emerging critical minerals sector and to push for international cooperation to help boost the global trade and diversified supply of critical minerals.

“Critical minerals and rare earths are crucial to the high-technology industries of the future and are essential components of batteries, wind turbines, LCD screens, solar panels, microchips and even mobile phones,” Minister Canavan said.

“The US has a need for critical minerals and Australia’s abundant supplies makes us a reliable and secure international supplier of a wide range of those including rare earth elements.

“Mining and resources have underpinned Australia’s economic growth and prosperity for more than 100 years, and the critical minerals sector provides an exciting opportunity to build on that foundation as a safe and reliable supplier to the world.”

The visit builds on the September agreement between Prime Minister Scott Morrison and President Donald Trump to develop a US-Australia Action Plan for Critical Minerals Cooperation to support investment, research and development, and diversity in critical minerals supply chains.

In March, Minister Canavan and Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Simon Birmingham launched Australia’s Critical Minerals Strategy 2019, which focuses on investment, innovation and infrastructure and identifies 24 critical minerals that Australia could potentially supply to key trading partners.

Australia is one of the top five producers of critical minerals such as antimony, manganese, rare earths, and ilmenite and rutile – two titanium minerals – and is the second largest  producer of rare earths, with 13 per cent of global production.

Australia is also the world's largest producer of lithium, accounting for 47 per cent of global production, and has the world’s largest nickel reserves and second largest cobalt reserves,  as well as abundant reserves of graphite.

While in the US, Minister Canavan will lead an Australian delegation on critical minerals including industry and state government representatives and will attend several roundtables with US business leaders and Government officials.

He will also hold talks with US Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, White House Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow, and meet with senior officials from the State Department.

Media contact: Minister Canavan's office 02 6277 7180