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Australia has strengthened its bilateral cooperation agreement with the US to improve the resilience and diversity of global critical minerals supply chains, with officials from the two nations agreeing to the next steps to progress a joint action plan.

Federal Resources, Water and Northern Australia Minister Keith Pitt said the development built on the commitments made by US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Washington in September 2019.

 The original agreement focused 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.

“Meetings in Washington over the past week have made strong progress on an Australia-US joint action plan and will go a long way to helping to unlock Australia’s potential as a reliable and stable supplier of critical materials,” Pitt said.

 “Critical minerals are crucial to modern high technology industries and global demand is expected to remain strong with the increased use of mobile phones, laptops, renewable energy and other technology.”

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said Australia is an attractive destination for investment and cooperation on developing critical mineral reserves and supply chains.

“Australia’s abundant reserves of critical minerals gives us the potential to be an international powerhouse for the supply of minerals such as antimony, manganese and rare earths, which are crucial to communications, renewable energy and defence industries,” Birmingham said.

“Australia has a strong reputation as a reliable and stable supplier of resources to the world, and as our largest investor, we have a natural partnership of cooperation in critical minerals with the US.”

The US-Australia talks in Washington agreed to focus on key issues around ensuring a sufficient supply to meet projected demand, strengthening two-way trade and investment, encouraging research and development, and options to improve resource development.