Australia inks rare earths deal with United States

United States Geological Survey director Jim Reilly and Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan formalising a US-Australia critical minerals partnership. Image: Geoscience Australia.

The Australian Government has delivered on its commitment for critical minerals development by signing a formal project agreement with the United States.

This signifies Geoscience Australia and the United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) agreement to improve understanding and supply of critical minerals, including rare earth elements.

The project will focus on critical mineral potential mapping and quantitative mineral assessments, determining geological controls on distribution and developing data analytics to better understand supply and demand scenarios.

The knowledge gained from the collaboration will help Australia and the United States to better identify and close critical mineral knowledge gaps.

Australia will also be able to look at future trends in the critical minerals sector, match resource potential to global demand and develop online decision support tools.

Federal Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan witnessed Geoscience Australia chief of resources Andrew Heap and USGS director Jim Reilly sign the agreement, and said the partnership would deliver opportunity and security to both countries.

“Growing global demand for critical minerals means there is huge scope for Australia to develop secure and stable supply chains,” Canavan said.

“The United States has a need for critical minerals and Australia’s abundant supplies makes us a reliable and secure international supplier of a wide range of those, including rare earth elements.”

Critical minerals are essential for producing aerospace, defence, renewable energy, agricultural and telecommunication technologies.

They are found in lithium-ion batteries, which power everyday items such as laptops and smartphones.

Australia has been in a critical mineral partnership with the United States since 2018.

The Australian Government released its ‘Critical Minerals Supply Chain in the US’ report last month, reinforcing the importance of Australia continuing to attract investment in processing and manufacturing, to bring new critical mineral projects into production.

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