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Global leaders gather in Darwin to tackle critical minerals supply chain issues

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By Colin Hay - 
Darwin meeting critical minerals supply chain

An exclusive meeting is being held in Darwin between Australia, the US, Japan, South Korea, the UK and India to try and sort out the supply chain issues facing critical minerals and rare earths.

Key industry leaders and representatives from the six nations will spend the next two days discussing critical mineral production, supply chain resilience and economic security.

The meetings follow on from the recent impacts to the pricing of key critical minerals such as lithium and nickel and the Australian government’s decision to step in with new legislation and dialogue with key potential global customers.

Key supplier

Australia is considered one of the key suppliers of most critical minerals that will drive the world’s decarbonisation efforts.

Demand for these critical minerals is projected to rapidly grow with the increasing transition to renewable energy and battery storage, along with the crucial role of these minerals in areas such as medicine and defence.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Eva Lawler says the Darwin meeting will highlight the opportunities and strategic importance the Northern Territory will play in the critical minerals supply chain for Australia and global partners.

She said mining continues to be a huge driver for the NT economy, with mineral production in the NT hitting $4.86 billion last year and 4,400 people employed within the industry.

“The [Northern] Territory is a key player when it comes to the global supply chains for the critical minerals required for new technologies and the energy transition.”

“This summit cements our position on the national stage.”

Like-minded participants

Dr John Coyne, head of the Northern Australia Strategic Policy Centre convening the Darwin meeting, said it illustrates what is possible when like-minded countries like Japan and Australia work together.

“The […] diverse attendees provide an unprecedented opportunity for open discussion on creating competitive and resilient alternate critical minerals supply chains that commit to the highest ESG standards,” he said.