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Source: Ministers for the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

19 November 2019

Australia and the United States have formalised their partnership on developing both nations’ critical mineral assets, with a project agreement signed today by Geoscience Australia and the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

The signing paves the way for both nations to work more closely on understanding each country’s geological resource potential for critical minerals, including rare earth elements, and developing a pathway to supply arrangements.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said it was the beginning of a strong new partnership which would benefit both nations.

“This is a partnership that will deliver opportunity and security to both nations,” Minister Canavan said.

“Growing global demand for critical minerals means there is huge scope for Australia to develop secure and stable supply chains to meet the growing demand for critical minerals in key economies such as the US.

“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.

“Today’s signing follows a wealth of work by the Liberal National Government to grow our potential in the critical minerals market, following the announcement of our critical mineral partnership with the US in early 2018.

“Almost 12 months ago Geoscience Australia and the USGS signed a wide-ranging Letter of Intent to formalise our collaboration on critical minerals.

“Our Critical Minerals Strategy was released earlier this year to coordinate activities across government, promote investment and deliver the necessary infrastructure to bring new critical minerals projects into production.

“And just last month we released our Critical Minerals Supply Chain in the United States report, which reinforces the importance of Australia continuing to attract investment in high-value activities such as processing and manufacturing. 

“Our partnership with the US also supports the goals of our National Resources Statement.”

The new agreement focuses on joint critical mineral potential mapping and quantitative mineral assessments, determining geological controls on critical mineral distribution, and developing data analytics capability to understand supply and demand scenarios for developing the critical minerals pipeline.

The knowledge gained from this collaboration will:

  • Improve both countries’ understanding of their geological resource potential for critical minerals, including rare earth elements, and contribute to a robust evidence base for global supply potential
  • Better identify and close critical minerals knowledge gaps in Australia’s critical minerals understanding
  • Help Australia understand future trends and match resource potential to international demand
  • Fast track innovation in the critical minerals sector, including development of online decision support tools with full data and decision process transparency.

Critical minerals are essential for the production of high-tech, aerospace, defence, renewable energy, agricultural, automotive and telecommunications technologies, and are found in everyday items such as lithium-ion batteries which power laptops and smartphones.

Media contact: Minister Canavan’s office 02 6277 7180

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