Joint Statement by Canada and Australia on Cooperation on Critical Minerals

Date published:
5 March 2024

The joint statement sets out shared priorities on critical minerals including the importance of robust environmental, social and governance credentials.

Australia and Canada released the statement on 4 March 2024.

Read the full statement below.

Joint statement

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

Canada and Australia share a like-minded approach to the development of global critical minerals supply chains, an approach driven by our strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies, high regard for worker conditions and worker safety, our shared commitment to consultation, engagement with and participation of Indigenous Peoples, and our alignment around the importance of sustainable and secure production. 

Canada and Australia have both released national critical minerals strategies, and we are committed to ensuring critical minerals markets are diverse, resilient and guided by fair market practices. We recognise the substantial challenges facing our industry and the impact of concentrated supply chains.  We see strength in diversity.

This is why our national governments are working together, so we are able to deliver a future where the development of our critical minerals are as clean as they can be, and where our industries are able to compete fairly in the international market. Diversified supply chains, and sustainably developed critical minerals, are essential to clean energy technology and the transition to net-zero.

In recognition of the vital role that critical minerals play in the global net-zero transition and building on our long-standing existing partnership and substantial work, both bilaterally and in multilateral fora, Canada and Australia commit to further working together to grow responsibly the global sustainable supply of critical minerals. We will also work together with likeminded partners to respond to changing geopolitical realities so they do not negatively impact our pursuit of these goals.

Canada and Australia have developed the following non-legally binding understanding to promote shared priorities related to global critical minerals extraction, processing, and refining:

  • Drive robust ESG efforts. Responsible sourcing and higher ESG standards are emerging as major factors in the security of supply of critical minerals and are also necessary to achieve sustainable global practices. We will advocate for robust ESG credentials built into global critical minerals supply chains through close collaboration in multilateral fora, including International Standards Association (ISO), and work bilaterally to support market opportunities for our industry players with strong responsible mining credentials.
  • Drive the development of critical minerals supply chain transparency and traceability to monetise the value proposition for responsibly sourced minerals. We commit to harmonising and prioritising critical minerals supply chain transparency and traceability measures, including through the International Energy Agency (IEA), to help ensure that global supply chains are guided by fair market practices and underpinned by robust ESG standards. 
  • Ensuring that our common values are accurately reflected through multilateral fora to avoid overlap and ensure complementarity. We will closely coordinate our collective approach to critical minerals supply chain security and sustainability at key multilateral fora including the IEA, the Minerals Security Partnership, the Conference on Critical Minerals and Materials and the Sustainable Critical Minerals Alliance. We will also explore opportunities for targeted partnerships and initiatives to increase cooperation amongst likeminded partners to secure critical mineral supply.
  • Supporting bilateral mining and service sector trade and investment. We will share our respective approaches to industry growth models for supporting mining supply and services in global markets and collaborate on targeted trade and investment missions. 
  • Exploring joint Research and Development (R&D) research exchanges and investment in strategic areas. We will explore opportunities for R&D collaboration across the entire critical minerals supply chain from geoscience and green mining technology, to approaches to mineral processing, and R&D related to battery supply chains, including recovering critical material from waste and sharing REE recycling technology developments to strengthen global REE supply chain resiliency. 
  • Commitment to continuing improving engagement with Indigenous peoples. We will share information and best practices related to our shared priority of reconciliation, economic inclusion, shared decision-making and benefit sharing with Indigenous Peoples, highlighting the importance of genuine partnerships with Indigenous Peoples and other communities in the advancement of critical minerals related projects.
  • Canada’s Department of Natural Resources and Australia’s Critical Minerals Office within the Department of Industry, Science and Resources, will lead the work outlined in this joint statement, and coordinate policies and investments to support these shared priorities.