Australia has made a big promise to its neighbors as it strikes a new security pact aimed at bolstering critical mineral reserves.
Resources Minister Madeleine King is set to make a big commitment to the materials needed to transition the Indo-Pacific region to renewable energy.
On Wednesday evening, Ms. King will address leaders in the critical minerals sector at the Sydney Energy Forum Closing Dinner.
“I would like to make this promise; Australia stands ready to help our region address critical mineral supply chain challenges,” she is expected to tell industry heavyweights.
She says Australia has “massive reserves” of lithium, cobalt, rare earths and other important minerals needed to make batteries and other renewable technologies.
“We also have policy settings that encourage a clean energy transition,” she says.
“(They) will see more of our critical minerals not only exported, but processed in Australia to make feedstocks and eventually things like batteries and solar panels.”
Her speech comes as Australia strikes a pact with allied nations to bolster critical mineral reserves, given that China controls vast quantities of materials needed for renewable energy technology.
The Mineral Security Partnership also includes Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Commission.
Ms. King joined US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm for a roundtable with industry representatives at the Sydney Energy Forum earlier Wednesday.
Ms Granholm told the group: “We are concerned that critical minerals could be just as vulnerable to manipulation as we have seen in other areas or to be used as a weapon.”
“And we want – it’s great and from a national security point of view for both of our countries – to diversify our supply chains and make sure that these minerals are available to achieve the ultimate goal of net zero,” she said.
Anthony Albanese on Tuesday pledged to strengthen Australia’s cooperation with the Pacific Islands and Southeast Asia to help achieve a zero-emissions world.
In his speech at the Sydney Energy Forum, the Prime Minister said that Australia will once again be a “reliable global partner” in the fight against climate change.
Mr. Albanese confirmed his government’s focus on cutting emissions as an economic opportunity, saying he wants to work with the wider region on a shift away from fossil fuels.
Ms. King will reiterate these commitments in her speech at the Critical Minerals Dinner on Wednesday night.
“This is a region where the effects of climate change are being acutely felt, but at the same time it is a region full of ambition and resources to address this issue,” she said.
“Australia is a reliable resource and energy supplier to the Indo-Pacific and we are working to build on that success as our critical minerals sector grows.”
The Sydney Energy Forum was jointly organized by the federal government, the International Energy Agency and the Business Council of Australia.
Originally published as Resource Minister Madeleine King pledges to Indo-Pacific neighbors