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Australia and the Republic of Korea have created a new agreement on critical minerals that will strengthen cooperation in resources and energy.

The memorandum of understanding on cooperation in critical mineral supply chains comes as President Moon Jae-in visits Australia to mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties.

“Australia, and particularly Western Australia, has significant reserves of the critical minerals that will be essential to future technologies not just in energy but across a range of industries,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

“More and more countries are realising the untapped opportunities we have right here for critical minerals exports, and this partnership isn’t just about developing those but also helping secure those essential supply chains.”

Minister for Resources and Water Keith Pitt signed the agreement with the Republic of Korea’s Minister for Trade, Industry and Energy, Moon Sung-wook.

“The Republic of Korea is one of our nation’s top trade and investment partners for resources and energy and this agreement will build on our existing links,” Pitt said.

“It will foster Korean investment in Australian critical minerals projects and boost our exports, while the Republic of Korea will secure a reliable supply.

“Australia has rich deposits in critical minerals including rare earths, lithium, graphite, cobalt and nickel, and we are developing our capability in downstream processing.”

Minister for Science and Technology Melissa Price said the partnership presents an opportunity to expand cooperation.

“Commercial cooperation and investment from the Republic of Korea in Australian critical minerals will create new jobs across Australia, particularly in regional areas,” Price said.

“Australia is blessed with strong reserves of critical minerals, and these precious resources will drive the new energy economy into the future.”

Australia has announced an initial commitment of $50 million to the partnership, with the Republic of Korea to match Australia’s funding contribution subject to domestic processes.

Together, the governments are aiming to invest up to $100 million towards initiatives under the partnership.