WA strengthens critical minerals ties with Indonesia

4th July 2023 By: Esmarie Iannucci - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

WA strengthens critical minerals ties with Indonesia

Photo by: Bloomberg

PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Western Australian government has signed a Plan of Action with Indonesia's Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) powering critical minerals investment and opportunities between the two regions.

The agreement will further strengthen Western Australia's economic ties, trade, and supply chain opportunities with Indonesia, and follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Western Australia and KADIN in February to provide a framework that constructs and secures the supply chains of critical minerals and promotes investment and collaboration to develop value-adding critical minerals and battery industries.

The 2023-2025 Plan of Action has three pillars of cooperation which are to develop resilient and sustainable supply chains, support strong environmental and social governance outcomes and grow a skilled workforce. 

Activities to implement the plan will include high-level meetings, business forums and the commissioning of strategic analysis to map future opportunities for Western Australia and Indonesia to collaborate under the three pillars of cooperation. 

With the increasing demand for critical minerals and the large up-scaling of battery supply chains required to address climate change, the agreement supports the economic objectives of the two parties and helps them meet their respective industry development and emissions reduction targets. 

“Western Australia is already firmly established as a global leader in the supply of critical minerals and rare earths, with lithium hydroxide and other critical minerals processing quickly becoming established in our state,” said Premier Roger Cook on Tuesday.

“We're committed to growing the state's participation in global battery and critical mineral supply chains, with a view to further developing our value-adding and manufacturing industries.

“Working with Indonesia, an important trading partner and our closest neighbour, to explore partnerships, share information, knowledge and strategies, and facilitate business links, will fuel our mutual economic growth and green ambitions.”

Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia CEO Rebecca Tomkinson said the synergies between economic development strategies in Indonesia and those in Western Australia presented important opportunities for closer cooperation.  

Indonesia’s industrial down-streaming economic strategy unveiled in August 2021 includes the development of further manufacturing, processing and refining capability to convert locally sourced raw materials such as nickel, bauxite, gold and copper to semi-finished or finished goods exports, particularly those related to critical and battery minerals.

“Considering the manufacturing sector makes up the largest value of exported goods from Indonesia, opportunities may exist for Western Australia to supply critical inputs or secure outputs from the Indonesian market for the downstream minerals processing and/or manufacturing sectors.

“This will be particularly relevant if Indonesia realises its ambitions to build a Green Industrial Park which will use new renewable energy or green energy to produce green products, and provide opportunities for Western Australian businesses to further decarbonise their supply chains,” she said.

Tomkinson said that the Indonesian labour market also presented opportunities to engage on skills, and build on existing efforts of Australian mining contracting companies operating in Indonesia to support local training and employment opportunities.

“Western Australia is already a world-leading jurisdiction for the upstream production and refining of critical and battery minerals globally, a factor that will continue to increase in importance to our nation’s trade partners, such as Indonesia,” Tomkinson said.

“There is an enormous opportunity for Western Australia to have a world-leading, sustainable, value-adding critical minerals sector, but the window to capitalise on global critical minerals demand and unlock the state’s potential as a major participant in the supply chain is narrow. We must capitalise on the opportunities in front of us right now.”