Australia wants to use critical minerals as bargaining chip in EU free trade talks

Australia’s Trade Minister, Don Farrell, has suggested that easier access to the country’s critical minerals sector could be a bargaining chip in negotiations for a free trade agreement with the European Union (EU). Negotiations between Australia and the EU had stalled, partly due to issues surrounding market access for Australian agricultural products like beef.

Farrell mentioned that a free trade agreement could simplify European investment in Australia’s critical minerals sector by streamlining access through mandatory Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) screening processes. Australia is a major supplier of critical minerals such as lithium and rare earths, which are used in batteries for electric cars and other applications.

Germany, in particular, is interested in sourcing rare earths and lithium from Australia as part of its strategy to diversify trading partners and reduce dependence on China. Farrell emphasized that Australia welcomes foreign investment in its critical minerals sector, but potential investors should make realistic offers.

Australia’s clean energy sector is of interest to various countries, including Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and the United States. Farrell noted that Australia’s free trade agreement with the US makes it an attractive destination for critical minerals investment under the US Inflation Reduction Act.

Farrell expects to hold teleconference talks with EU Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis in the coming week and has invited Dombrovskis to visit Australia. The focus of these talks will likely be on improving the offer within the free trade agreement negotiations.

Elevate your business with QU4TRO PRO!

Gain access to comprehensive analysis, in-depth reports and market trends.

Interested in learning more?

Sign up for Top Insights Today

Top Insights Today delivers the latest insights straight to your inbox.

You will get daily industry insights on

Oil & Gas, Rare Earths & Commodities, Mining & Metals, EVs & Battery Technology, ESG & Renewable Energy, AI & Semiconductors, Aerospace & Defense, Sanctions & Regulation, Business & Politics.

By clicking subscribe you agree to our privacy and cookie policy and terms and conditions of use.

Read more insights

Argentina finds $1 billion investor for inactive potash mine

Authorities in Argentina’s Mendoza province have completed the selection process for a $1 billion investor to assist in the development of a potash mine, according to Governor Rodolfo Suarez. This marks a significant milestone for the Rio Colorado potash mine project, which had been shelved by Brazil’s Vale SA over a decade ago amid falling potash prices and a lack of tax concessions from the Argentine government.

China fines U.S. due diligence firm Mintz Group for $1.5 million

China has fined U.S. firm Mintz Group approximately $1.5 million for conducting “unapproved statistical work,” according to a notice from the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Statistics. The penalty was imposed after Chinese authorities raided Mintz Group’s Beijing office, raising concerns about China’s openness to foreign investment. The bureau stated that Mintz Group had carried out “foreign-related statistical investigations” without obtaining the necessary approvals. The company was found to have conducted 37 such investigations between March 2019 and July 2022.

Exxon and partners to spend $12.93 billion for sixth Guyana offshore oil project

Exxon Mobil Corp and its partners are gearing up to invest $12.93 billion in the development of their sixth offshore oil project in Guyana. The project, known as Whiptail, is part of a consortium led by Exxon and includes partners Hess Corp and CNOOC Ltd. The plan entails deploying a floating production platform, set to begin operations in 2027, which will contribute to the consortium’s oil production output in Guyana, aiming to exceed 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd).

Stay informed