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EU and Australia agree on strategic minerals partnership

EU and Australia agree on strategic minerals partnership

A partnership in a strategic area: Minerals is the cornerstone of infrastructure linked to environmental change. This Tuesday, the European Commission announced the signing between the EU and Australian MoU lays the foundation of a partnership around it “Sustainable Critical and Strategic Minerals”.

On the side of the European Commission, Valdis signed the Memorandum of Understanding DombrowskisExecutive Vice President and Thierry Breton, specifically in charge of Commercial. Signatories on the Australian sideHe is Australian Resources Minister, Madeleine King, as well as Trade and Tourism Minister, Dan Farrell.

Following the signing of the MoU, the Commission indicated that a road map with concrete steps will be drawn up with a view to operationalize the strategic partnership in the next six months.

“I believe that signing this partnership will send a strong message to the entire raw materials ecosystem in the EU and Australia. It will increase opportunities for collaboration, investment and businesses.” Thierry Breton congratulated him in a press release from the European Commission.

And Valdis Dombrovskis added: “Our Memorandum of Understanding emphasizes integrated value chains, promoting research and innovation and sustainable production for both parties. »

A partnership across the entire mineral value chain

The partnership aims to provide the European Union with a supply of materials needed for environmental and digital transformations, while specifically contributing to the development of Australia's national critical minerals sector. », mentions the Commission press release.

Critical minerals and metals: IEA warns of risk of “strains” related to global supplies

Also, it implies ” The partnership will cover the entire value chain of critical and strategic minerals ”, such as exploration, extraction, processing, purification, recycling and treatment of extraction wastes.

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The partnership will explore cooperation between the EU and Australia in countries of mutual interest », further mentioned in the Commission's press release. Special emphasis is placed on reduction Impacts on the environment and interests of local communities. This new collaboration will enable integration of digital technologies and services connected to mining.

Several partnerships have already been established by the EU

For the European Union and most developed economies, minerals are crucial today for their environmental and digital transformation. This partnership with Australia is not the first alliance the Commission has forged in recent months. Indeed, agreements have been signed with Canada and Ukraine in 2021, Kazakhstan and Namibia in 2022, Argentina, Chile, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Greenland in 2023, and Rwanda, Norway and Uzbekistan in 2024.

Risk of environmental change, strategic minerals are seriously threatened

For its part, there is France On May 1, it signed a declaration with Japan to accelerate cooperation in the field of critical metals such as rare earths.

This is Bilateral cooperation in this area, especially for rare earths and battery minerals, through sharing information on markets and supply impacts, or even through partnerships between French and Japanese companies, Percy pointed out. Both countries plan to work on joint projects involving third countries to extract, transform or recycle critical metals. Finally, France and Japan are committed to working to develop value chains with high environmental, social and governance standards for these projects.

IEA warns of supply risk for critical minerals

The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently warned of problems if enthusiasm for these raw materials escalates distributor. Fall in prices of essential minerals » Copper, lithium or nickel used to conduct electricity in electric or electric vehicle batteries, wind turbines and solar panels « Covers the risk of future supply pressures », warned the IEA in its second annual report on metals published on Friday 17 May. In terms of volume, two metals are most at risk.” tension » Their supplies include lithium and copper, which are ” Significant difference » between production and consumption opportunities, according to the report.

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Climate: Australia commits €14bn to become 'superpower' in renewables

However, the IEA estimates that “ 800 billion dollars » The total amount of mining investments needed globally by 2040 to meet the 1.5 degree warming target set by the international Paris Climate Agreement.

Australia wants to be A superpower » Renewable energies

On Tuesday 14 May, the Australian Government released a massive budget dedicated to the development of renewable energies for the country's next financial year 2024/2025.

The new budget, inspired by the United States' anti-inflation law, will allocate the equivalent of 13.9 billion euros to solar panels, low-carbon fuels, tax cuts for essential minerals and other priority areas.

This Budget invests in our renewable energy superpower ambitions », commented Australian Finance Minister (Labour) Jim Chalmers.

(with AFP)