Australia Joins Push to Curb China's Critical Metals Dominance




  • In Business
  • 2022-11-25 05:00:52Z
  • By Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Australia is vowing more assertive scrutiny of foreign investments in key commodities tied to electric cars and clean energy, in a potential warning to China which currently dominates the market.

Most Read from Bloomberg

  • Binance's Zhao Flags Possible $1 Billion for Distressed Assets

  • Malaysia PM Anwar Plans Confidence Vote to Prove to Rival He Commands a Majority

  • Elizabeth Holmes Judge Proposes Texas Prison, Family Visits

  • China Covid Cases Jump to Record High, Topping Shanghai Outbreak

Treasurer Jim Chalmers has asked Treasury to work with the Foreign Investment Review Board and a range of other stakeholders to undertake a review of foreign investment in sectors like lithium and rare earths, he told a conference in Sydney on Friday.

"We'll need to be more assertive about encouraging investment that clearly aligns with our national interest in the longer term," Chalmers said in his speech.

While Chalmers didn't directly identify China investment as a target of the review, Resources Minister Madeleine King said in a speech earlier this month that the Asian nation's dominance of the market had led to "inherent vulnerabilities of concentrated supply chains."

Australia's latest move adds to a broader push against China's dominance of battery metals and renewable energy technology following moves by President Joe Biden aimed at limiting the nation's influence on key supply chains. Canada last month strengthened its rules around foreign investments in the sector and ordered three Chinese firms to sell their stakes in a trio of lithium explorers.

Australia, which has some of the world's largest deposits of the resources vital in clean energy, military technology and advanced computers, has been working with the US to build its capacity in mining and processing of lithium and other critical minerals. Biden has offered incentives to boost domestic production, and called on allies to bolster processing capabilities.

Ganfeng Lithium Group Co. and Tianqi Lithium Corp. -- China's top two lithium producers -- both hold stakes in key operations in Australia. Ganfeng holds 50% of the Mount Marion mine, while Tianqi controls the Kwinana refinery and a share of Western Australia's Greenbushes, the world's biggest lithium mine.

In February, China-based Shenghe Resources Holding Co. added a 19.9% stake in Peak Rare Earths Ltd., a Perth-based developer of projects in Africa and the UK.

Read more: Breaking China's Grip on Rare-Earths Markets a 'Pipe Dream,' Australia Says

Resources Minister King told Bloomberg in October there has been interest in the sectors from investors in the European Union and from partners including South Korea.

While noting discussions among lithium-producing nations in South America on a possible agreement on production and pricing, and in Asia on a similar set up for nickel and other key battery minerals, Chalmers ruled out Australia's potential involvement in creating an "OPEC-like" set up for critical minerals.

Indonesian Investment Minister Bahlil Lahadalia earlier this month floated the idea of alliance of nickel suppliers that he said would help to unite government policies on the in-demand battery metal. The plan had been discussed with both Canada and Australia.

"Rather than locking down supply chains and trying to create an OPEC-like set up for critical minerals, we'd be better off responding by diversifying global supply chains and making them more resilient," Chalmers said.

(Updates with Resources Minister King's comments in fourth paragraph)

Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek

  • Elon Musk Keeps Quoting Elon Musk About His Genius

  • Apple's Reliance on China Grows Perilous With Chaos in iPhone City

  • The Robot Tractors Are Coming, Just as Soon as We Crush a Few Bugs

  • Tech Layoffs Send H-1B Visa Holders Scrambling for New Jobs

  • Crypto's Crash Is Helping a Few Couples Rekindle Their Relationships

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Italy eases anti-COVID measures for travellers from China
Italy eases anti-COVID measures for travellers from China
  • US
  • 2023-01-31 15:14:44Z

Italy will loosen its anti-COVID controls for travellers arriving from China, making swabs random rather than mandatory at its airports, a document seen by...

China
China's BYD dreams big in auto powerhouse Japan
  • US
  • 2023-01-31 12:36:09Z

China's BYD Co Ltd unveiled its first dealership in Japan on Tuesday, taking on one of the biggest challenges in its explosive global rise as it seeks to win...

China lobbies Dutch to defend trade after chip curbs
China lobbies Dutch to defend trade after chip curbs
  • US
  • 2023-01-31 12:01:44Z

China's foreign minister appealed to his Dutch counterpart to defend free trade after the Netherlands and Japan agreed to cooperate with U.S. restrictions on...

Japan and NATO pledge
Japan and NATO pledge 'firm' response to China, Russia threats
  • World
  • 2023-01-31 11:34:12Z

Japan and NATO must "remain united and firm" in the face of security threats posed by China, North Korea and Russia's war in Ukraine, Jens Stoltenberg said...

France Unexpectedly Grows Amid Europe Recession Fear: GDP Update
France Unexpectedly Grows Amid Europe Recession Fear: GDP Update

(Bloomberg) -- The French economy grew unexpectedly in the final three months of 2022, offering encouragement with the euro area that's on the edge of...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Business