The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has signed a project agreement with its Australian counterpart, GeoScience Australia, to jointly develop a “better understanding of both countries’ critical mineral reserves.”
The agreement is the result of ongoing agency-level talks between the United States and Australia and the recent announcement of a forthcoming formal roll out of an “action plan” to counter Chinese dominance in the critical minerals sector, and specifically the Rare Earths sector.
According to the office of Australia’s resources minister Matt Canavan, the agreement “paves the way for both nations to work more closely on understanding each country’s geological resource potential for critical minerals, including rare earth elements, and developing a pathway to supply arrangements,” and it will “deliver opportunity and security to both nations.”
The United States and Australia hope that collaborative effort will help
· “[i]mprove both countries’ understanding of their geological resource potential for critical minerals, including rare earth elements, and contribute to a robust evidence base for global supply potential”
· “[b]etter identify and close critical minerals knowledge gaps in Australia’s critical minerals understanding”
· “[h]elp Australia understand future trends and match resource potential to international demand,” and
· “[f]ast track innovation in the critical minerals sector, including development of online decision support tools with full data and decision process transparency.”
This development represents an important step forward in the U.S.’s quest to secure its critical mineral resource supply chains.
When tied into a comprehensive “all-of-the-above” approach we’ve come to know from the energy policy discourse — a focus on new mining, recycling and reclamation of new minerals from old mine tailings — as discussed by ARPN’s Dan McGroarty at a recent panel discussion, partnership agreements like the one inked this week can be an important piece of the puzzle as we strive to to alleviate our critical mineral woes, and reclaim our leadership role.