Australia and the UK will strengthen cooperation on critical minerals after signing a Statement of Intent, Australia’s government announced on Tuesday in a press release.

Madeleine King, Australia’s minister for resources and Northern Australia, signed a statement with UK minister for the Indo Pacific Anne-Marie Trevelyan in Perth, during her visit to Australia.

Under the statement, Australia and the UK will work to increase investment links for critical minerals projects, seek new value chains including through recycling, and enhance research collaboration. It also plans to encourage the exchange of skills and expertise between Australian and UK firms, as well as with other international partners.

The agreement comes as the UK seeks to secure international supply chains as part of its new Critical Minerals Strategy.

“The Statement of Intent with the UK further strengthens Australia’s resolve to develop our critical minerals sector to be a global supplier of the resources needed for clean-energy technology, such as batteries, electric vehicles, solar panels and wind turbines,” King said. “We will work closely with the UK to build resilient, sustainable, and transparent supply chains for critical minerals.”

“The UK has a long history of investment in Australia’s resource development, and I look forward to welcoming UK investment targeted at critical mineral projects at all levels in Australia,” she added.

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The International Energy Agency has said that critical minerals such as copper, lithium, nickel, cobalt and rare earth elements are essential components in many of today’s rapidly growing energy transition technologies.

Australia has large reserves of critical minerals and stands as the world’s biggest producer of lithium, which is crucial to battery and electric vehicle technologies. Earlier this month, King signed an agreement with Indian coal and mines minister Shri Pralhad Joshi, allowing India to target two lithium and three cobalt projects in Australia as part of the Australia-India Critical Minerals Investment Partnership.

King will release Australia’s new Critical Minerals Strategy later this year. This will aim to help grow the sector and progress towards Australia’s commitment to net zero emissions by 2050.