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Water drilling at the Nolans Project.

Australia has joined an international partnership that seeks to develop and secure global supply chains for critical minerals crucial to the transition to clean energy.

Trade and Tourism minister Don Farrell and Resources and Northern Australia minister Madeleine King said Australia had joined the Minerals Security Partnership, along with the United States, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the European Commission.

The ministers made the announcement on the sidelines of the Sydney Energy Forum, attended by US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. Farrell thanked the US for its leadership on the partnership.

“The US has taken a strong lead on the new partnership, which will help member countries build links with key markets in our region and globally, and help embed Australia in international critical mineral supply chains and technologies crucial to the global economy,” he said.

“The partnership seeks to catalyse public and private investment for mining, processing and recycling projects that adhere to the highest environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards.”

King and Granholm held a bilateral meeting to discuss the importance of critical minerals for the transition to clean energy and the manufacture of new battery, solar and electric vehicle technologies, and how to improve cooperation on critical minerals.

“My discussions with Secretary Granholm were extremely positive, and underlined how Australia and the United States can work together to further the development of critical minerals and to diversify global supply chains,” King said.

“We agree that ongoing and secure supplies of critical minerals will be crucial to the modern renewable technologies that will ultimately help our two countries, and the world, achieve our net-zero ambitions.”

Granholm said as the building blocks of clean energy technologies, critical minerals were an integral part to the United States and Australia’s shared climate objectives, and bolstering the diversity of and elevating responsible standards for their associated supply chains was an area ripe for enhanced bilateral cooperation.

Officials from the two countries would meet within three months to make further progress on the recently signed Australia–United States Net Zero Technology Acceleration Partnership.

The ministers and Granholm also attended the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Australia’s Arafura Resources and major US company General Electric (GE).

The MOU will see GE progress negotiations to purchase rare earths materials from Arafura’s Nolans Project in the Northern Territory as a key component of wind turbine renewable energy generators.

Farrell said the agreement shows the real potential for Australia to foster strong commercial critical minerals partnerships with our major trading partners.

“It is also an indication of this government’s commitment to the development of the Australian critical minerals sector,” he said.

King said the MOU was an example of how US and Australian businesses were partnering and investing to secure supply chains and accelerate the global transition to net zero emissions.

“Australia is determined to play a constructive role in international efforts to reduce emissions, while preparing Australia to become a clean energy superpower,” she said.