Australia wants to compete with China on critical minerals, minister King says

20th December 2023 By: Bloomberg

Australia wants to compete with China on critical minerals, minister King says

Photo by: Bloomberg

Australia wants to compete with China in producing and refining resources vital to the next phase of high-tech manufacturing around the world, according to Minister Madeleine King, backing the country’s bid to build its critical minerals capability.

When asked about the possibility of greater Chinese investment in the sector, Resources Minister King said while Australia was receptive to proposals, the government sought to build up the domestic industry.

“The reason we want to make sure that we hold more critical minerals capabilities here, in refining, in processing, and further down the line, is to compete with China,” King said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “That’s not a bad thing.”

Since coming to power in May 2022, Australia’s center-left Labor government has ramped up investment in minerals including lithium, cobalt and titanium, which are vital for global green energy infrastructure and the defence manufacturing.

King’s remarks come days after Australia expanded its list of resources deemed crucial to its energy transition and national security needs. Australia has some of the world’s largest reserves of the critical resources, sparking interest from nations keen to diversify their supply chains given China’s substantial head start in processing.

In recent months, Australia has boosted cooperation with countries including the US on critical minerals. However, as relations between Beijing and Canberra warmed, China has pushed for greater access for its investors, including in the mining sector.