Australia-UK boost cooperation on critical minerals

Australia and the United Kingdom will strengthen cooperation on critical minerals after signing a new Statement of Intent.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Madeleine King signed the statement with the UK’s Minister for the Indo Pacific, Anne-Marie Trevelyan in Perth during Minister Trevelyan’s visit to Australia.

“The Statement of Intent with the UK further strengthens Australia’s resolve to develop our critical minerals sector to be a global supplier of the resources needed for clean-energy technology, such as batteries, electric vehicles, solar panels and wind turbines,” Minister King said.

“We will work closely with the UK to build resilient, sustainable, and transparent supply chains for critical minerals, which help both the UK and Australia to lower emissions and achieve net zero commitments.

“The UK has a long history of investment in Australia’s resource development, and I look forward to welcoming UK investment targeted at critical mineral projects at all levels in Australia.”

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has said the world will need to increase the supply of critical minerals and rare earths elements to meet growing global demand and to help achieve Paris climate goals.

Australia has vast reserves of critical minerals, including rare earth elements, and is the world’s largest producer of lithium which is crucial to battery and electric vehicle technology.

Australia also has well-stablished supply chains and trade links for resources and energy exports, and a reputation as an attractive and stable destination for investment.

Under the statement of intent, Australia and the UK will work to:

  • increase investment links for critical minerals projects;
  • support sovereign downstream processing and manufacturing capabilities;
  • seek new critical minerals value chains, including through recycling, and create skilled jobs;
  • Enhance collaboration on research and development;
  • Promote high environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards; and
  • Encourage the exchange of skills and expertise between Australian and UK firms, and with other international partners.

Minister King will release Australia’s new Critical Minerals Strategy later this year, which will help grow the sector and reflect the important role critical minerals can play in Australia’s commitment to net zero emissions by 2050.