Pundits weigh in on Trans-Pacific Partnership 

Industry pundits polled by Mining.com.au agree that a partnership between both Australia and Canada regarding critical minerals “makes sense”.

On 7 March 2024, Australia and Canada used this year’s Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) Convention in Toronto to announce they were improving transparency in critical minerals supply chains and will promote recognition of ‘strong’ environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards across the sector, as reported by this news service. 

In a joint statement, Australia’s Minister for Resources Madeleine King and Canada’s Minister for Energy and Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson outlined a suite of shared priorities of the global mining industry. 

These priorities are built on promoting better ESG standards, which King says needs to be understood by consumers and investors. 

Speaking to Mining.com.au, Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) CEO Warren Pearce says with joint research and information sharing between both nations the partnership is touted to assist industries in building ethically sourced minerals. 

“Both countries are world leaders when it comes to setting high environmental, social and governance standards. As we look to decarbonise the global economy, both investors and consumers will place more value on these attributes moving forward.”

Warren adds, given similarities in mining and exploration, this collaboration “makes sense”, especially with reference to emerging supply chains for critical minerals. 

Minerals Council of Australia CEO Tania Constable tells this news service it is important that countries continue working together on such important issues. 

“We (Australia and Canada) are producing nations, we are competitors, of course, but we have a lot of similarities. And there already is an excellent partnership at a business level,” she says.

Constable adds that while this new collaboration is centred around “open and transparent markets”, there should be more of a focus and recognition of all company’s “strong” ESG credentials. 

“I think that there is a lot that we can do together. The other issue is that we are both doing a lot of work as countries in exploration and there are new tools and techniques occurring around exploration. And we have geological survey organisations here in Australia, it’s Geoscience Australia that has great expertise.

So there is mutual benefit in us working together on those tools and techniques, because it’s getting harder and harder in our countries to find the next high-grade ore that we’re going to need to get to [hit] net zero by 2050, and all the mines that are going to be required.”

However, Constable adds Australia must establish a partnership with the US, as well as with jurisdictions closer to home to secure our supply chains and meet each other’s needs. 

“What we need to do is to make sure that we’re smarter in the way that we go about things. We have the right strategic partnerships around the world, partnerships with Canada, extremely important is a partnership with the United States, and of course, close to us in Asia, with Japan, [South] Korea, Vietnam, countries that are close by that are within our supply chains. 

Having those great partnerships and making sure that we are securing our supply chains to meet each other’s needs is an important mutual benefit. 

The second thing is that we need to make sure that we’ve got all the policy settings in our countries right, to make sure that the effort is not wasted. And there’s a lot more that needs to be done in Australia. We need to make sure that we’ve got the right sort of common user infrastructure in place.

We’ve got to make sure that our policy settings around industrial relations, because labour cost in Australia is higher than most countries around the world and we know that they’re not going to decrease. And we need to make sure that our taxation arrangements and environmental approvals are as good as they could be. 

So no new taxes and that our environmental assessment approvals are as efficient as they possibly can be. And I think that those things are not being done well in Australia and need to be better.”

Canada and Australia are both global leaders in minerals extraction and home to advanced exploration projects for battery metals, such as lithium and graphite, as well as rare earth elements and other critical minerals that are vital inputs for electric vehicles and the clean technology sectors. 

According to the Government of Canada, the home of the maple leaf is a ‘global leader’ in the production of potash and ranks among the top 5 global producers for diamonds, gemstones, gold, indium, niobium, platinum group metals, titanium concentrate, and uranium. 

It is also the world’s fourth largest primary aluminium producer.

Meanwhile, Australia ranks as the world’s fourth largest mining country, largest producer of lithium, and as a global top 5 producer of gold, iron ore, lead, zinc, and nickel, says the International Trade Administration. 

Australia also has the world’s largest uranium and fourth largest black coal resources, respectively. 

Write to Adam Drought at Mining.com.au

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Written By Adam Drought
Born and raised in the UK, Adam is a sports fanatic with an interest in Rugby League and UFC/MMA. When not training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Adam attends Griffith University where he is completing his final year of a Communication & Journalism degree.