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As Global Environmental and Geopolitical Pressures Intensify, So Do Cooperative Efforts — A Look at the Canadian-South Korean Critical Minerals Partnership and the MSP

While the coronavirus pandemic may no longer occupy the top of the hour slot in news broadcasts, the supply chain challenges it unearthed for many of the materials we rely upon are here to stay.  And as the global push towards net zero carbon emissions gets kicked into high gear, nations are increasingly realizing their own limitations and dependencies when it comes to meeting their industries’ metal and mineral needs to implement the sought after green energy transition.

With socio economic pressures and geopolitical tensions rising, nations are increasingly embracing comprehensive approaches to mineral resource policy, as piecemeal, ad-hoc policy making is fading into the background.

One large piece of the all-of-the-above comprehensive approach to mineral resource security ARPN has long been touting along with many other policy experts is cooperation with allies.

The latest case in point is the Canadian-South Korean partnership announced after a meeting between Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol last month.

In a joint statement, both countries agreed to work towards launching a high-level dialogue on economic security, which will, among other things, focus on deepening their “strategic partnership on supply chain resiliency,”  and positioning “both countries as globally competitive players in the critical minerals supply chain and battery and EV (Electric Vehicles) value chains in ways that support our collective prosperity and security, while raising labour and environmental standards.”

A memorandum of understanding “to enable the building of value chains in Canada and Korea to support clean energy transition and energy security, including with respect to critical minerals,” is in the works.

While high-level bilateral agreements on critical minerals are becoming more commonplace – we’ve featured a few the U.S. has entered into —multilateral frameworks are also being built out.

The Mineral Security Partnership (MSP) between the United States and currently ten other allies launched in June of 2022 is an initiative to bolster supply chains that aims “to ensure that critical minerals are produced, processed, and recycled in a manner that supports countries in realizing the full economic development potential of their mineral resources.”

During a meeting in September convened on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Week partners discussed “priorities, challenges, and opportunities in responsible mining, processing, and recycling of critical minerals.”

Aside from the MSP partners Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Japan, the Republic and Korea, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union, additional minerals-rich countries were in attendance, which included Argentina, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Zambia.

According to the U.S. State Department, “the MSP is currently considering promising critical minerals projects that could be of interest to one or more MSP partners, promoting innovation, developing a joint approach on ESG standards, and engaging both project operators and minerals-producing countries.”

As the push towards net zero carbon emissions and away from China as a lead supplier/processor intensifies, cooperative efforts — in the context of a comprehensive approach to resource security as outlined above — will only increase, and ARPN will continue to track them.