Opening remarks, critical minerals roundtable, Sydney Energy Forum
MADELEINE KING: Good morning, everybody, and welcome. I know it’s an early – well, it’s not that early, is it? It’s a beautiful Sydney morning. We're from Perth so it’s a little bit earlier over there. But we’ve got used to the time zone. Our American friends are a little more challenged.
So I’d like to start this morning by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we are on – the people of the Eora Nation. I pay my respects to their elders past, present and emerging.
A special welcome to our distinguished guest and my co-host this morning, the United States Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. So thank you so much for coming, and thanks for your team and all the efforts you’ve put in to be here in Sydney this week. And I hope you’ve enjoyed this beautiful global city and attending this great energy forum. It’s an excellent way for Australia and the US to work together on mutual interests in energy and critical minerals this morning.
Thank you to you all from industry for participating and being here this morning from all parts of the country, too. It’s a great opportunity for us to bring together some of Australia’s great critical minerals companies to meet Secretary Granholm and discuss how we can best leverage our bilateral relationship and our respective resources to improve resilience of critical mineral supply chains. The global transition to net-zero emissions is a challenge but also an enormous opportunity for Australia and the United States.
We share the US determination to get to net-zero emissions quickly in a manner that creates jobs, sustains jobs and communities, strengthens industries and drives economic growth in both our countries. We expect to see demand continue to grow for critical minerals and rare earths as well to fuel increased uptake of clean energy technologies from lithium-iron batteries to solar panels, wind turbines and of course, very desirable electronic vehicles.
Australia's natural strengths – our bounty of natural commodities, established resources sector, expertise in our traditional industries, high environmental social and governance standards, stable investment environment – present an incredible opportunity for us to be very much a part of the world’s transition to clean energy.
All of you here today embody those strengths and enthusiasm and represent Australia’s important contribution to securing supply chains, including, of course with the US. We already worked closely with the US on these issues. The Australia-United States net-zero technology acceleration partnership, signed by both our countries yesterday, is just one example, and a very important one of this relationship.
This partnership includes extending our cooperation on building resilient critical mineral supply chains which will be integral to employing net-zero technologies at scale, encompassing our production, processing and manufacturing capacity.
Now we’re here today, the Secretary and I, to listen to you and industry about how we can best work together to achieve these goals and work on any barriers that you face. We both look forward to hearing from you all. We want to see what we can do to get beyond talking, to the action to get things done to address our partnerships and what we need to do to progress the critical minerals and rare earths in this country.
With that, I’ll hand over to the Secretary and then we’ll get started.
JENNIFER GRANHOLM: Thank you so much, Minister King. And thank you to all of you for coming this morning. It is no secret that the United States does want to get to net zero. We can’t get there without much of the critical minerals and rare earths that you are extracting.
We have a goal in the United States of being able to do some of this but –in fact, the President has put forward $5 billion for development of processing for particularly battery supply chains. However, as those of you who have been doing processing know, it takes a while to be able to set that up. And we need additional processing capacity throughout the world.
Our concern is that critical minerals could be as subject, or vulnerable, to manipulation as we’ve seen in other areas, or weaponisation. And we want to – I think it’s healthy and from a national security perspective for both of our nations – to diversify our supply chains and make sure that these minerals are available to get to the ultimate goal of net-zero.
So I’m excited to hear from you. Some of you have already developed some relationships with our loans programs office, for example, to be able to further that goal. We have lots of tools in the United States. We want to hear from you about what you see as the opportunity and/or the challenges. I’m taking notes. I’m going to bring it back to Washington so that we are very – just so that you know, we are very serious about establishing strong relationships with Australia and with you and with your potential customers for off-take. So, with that, I’ll turn it back to you and we can get started.