Australia, US partnership on critical minerals formalised
Australia and the United States have formalised their partnership on developing both nations’ critical mineral assets, with a project agreement signed today by Geoscience Australia and the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
The signing 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.
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said it was the beginning of a strong new partnership which would benefit both nations.
“This is a partnership that will deliver opportunity and security to both nations,” Minister Canavan said.
“Growing global demand for critical minerals means there is huge scope for Australia to develop secure and stable supply chains to meet the growing demand for critical minerals in key economies such as the US.
“The US has a need for critical minerals and Australia’s abundant supplies makes us a reliable and secure international supplier of a wide range of those, including rare earth elements.
“Today’s signing follows a wealth of work by the Liberal National Government to grow our potential in the critical minerals market, following the announcement of our critical mineral partnership with the US in early 2018.
“Almost 12 months ago Geoscience Australia and the USGS signed a wide-ranging Letter of Intent to formalise our collaboration on critical minerals.
“Our Critical Minerals Strategy was released earlier this year to coordinate activities across government, promote investment and deliver the necessary infrastructure to bring new critical minerals projects into production.
“And just last month we released our Critical Minerals Supply Chain in the United States report, which reinforces the importance of Australia continuing to attract investment in high-value activities such as processing and manufacturing.
“Our partnership with the US also supports the goals of our National Resources Statement.”
The new agreement focuses on joint critical mineral potential mapping and quantitative mineral assessments, determining geological controls on critical mineral distribution, and developing data analytics capability to understand supply and demand scenarios for developing the critical minerals pipeline.
The knowledge gained from this collaboration will:
- Improve 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
- Better identify and close critical minerals knowledge gaps in Australia’s critical minerals understanding
- Help Australia understand future trends and match resource potential to international demand
- Fast track innovation in the critical minerals sector, including development of online decision support tools with full data and decision process transparency.
Critical minerals are essential for the production of high-tech, aerospace, defence, renewable energy, agricultural, automotive and telecommunications technologies, and are found in everyday items such as lithium-ion batteries which power laptops and smartphones.
Senator the Hon Matt Canavan Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Media Release, 19 Nov 2019
Perth, 25-26 November, 2019
Mining Geology 2019 conference program finalised!
With the increasing pace of change and emerging technologies in the mining industry, AusIMM’s Mining Geology conference will focus on the future of our industry and the impacts on mining geology and the entire mining value chain.
Get a taste of what will be covered at the 2019 Mining Geology conference by viewing the program abstracts now available online.
Consultant, Boliden Tara Mines
We recently asked John about the biggest technological advances being implemented and how this is influencing key metrics. John said “In mineral exploration I believe an important growth area is the use of seismic surveying to define regional, local and near mine structural targets….continue reading>
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Policy makers and geoscientists gather in Delft to exchange ideas on the contribution of geoscientists to the energy transition.
The EU-funded CHPM2030 project has organised its final conference in the framework of the EuroWorkshop “Geology and the energy transition” on 23 May 2019 at the Science Centre of Delft University of Technology (the Netherlands). Co-organised with the Royal Geological and Mining Society of the Netherlands (KNGMG) and the European Federation of Geologists (EFG) The aim of this event, which gathered 100 participants from 24 countries, was to provide insights into the energy transition and how it affects geosciences.
The conference’s first session aimed at setting the context by providing an overview of the policies adopted to encourage the energy transition. KNGMG President Lucia van Geuns opened the EuroWorkshop with an overview about nowadays global energy context stressing that no ‘one size fits it all’ approach to the energy transition exists. Mrs. van Geuns particularly highlighted the opportunities arising from system integration technologies where geoscientists play a major role, ranging from the production and storage of green hydrogen in existing platforms and its transport through existing pipelines, to the CO2 transport and storage in existing fields.
In his keynote speech, EFG President Vitor Correia highlighted two factors that may accelerate the energy transition: on the one hand, research and industry are exploring intensively how to produce cheaper and more efficient power storage technologies. Putting forward the example of Greta Thunberg and the global climate strike movement she initiated in 2018, he outlined, on the other hand, the power of changes in consumer behaviour, referring thus particularly to the 12th Sustainable Development Goal on responsible production and consumption. Finally, Vitor Correia also underlined EFG’s availability, as a supplier of reliable and trustworthy information, to support policy makers with the geological expertise needed to bring forward the energy transition.
Ruud Cino, who is responsible for oil, gas and other mining sectors at the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs & Climate Change, focused in his speech on the role of the subsurface in the energy transition and the social challenges arising from this. He outlined three key measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and emphasize the role of geosciences: (1) energy savings and efficiency which can be achieved by managing heat and cold demand through subsurface storage; (2) CO2 capture and storage which allow, in the short term, to use offshore gas fields with an ample storage capacity; and (3) CO2-free energy sources and technologies such as wind, solar, biomass or geothermal which require the exploration and exploitation of mineral raw materials for their deployment. Mr. Cino also underlined the critical importance of raw materials supply for the large-scale development of energy storage technologies, which will increase the overall flexibility in the supply of energy services. He finally highlighted the need of policy makers to receive support from geoscientists, to inform the public about both the opportunities and risks arising from the changing environment.
The morning session was concluded by Eilard Hoogerdujn Strating who outlined Shell’s position on the energy transition and the changing role for geoscientists, and Adele Manzella, who presented the strategic vision of the European Technology and Innovation Platform on Deep Geothermal (ETIP-DG) which aims at accelerating the deployment of innovative low-carbon geothermal technologies.
During the high-level panel discussion which followed these talks, the constant dialogue of geoscientists, policy makers and society was highlighted as a key aspect for a smooth energy transition, with a focus on explaining the opportunities arising from the transition and the importance of the subsoil at all its stages.
In the afternoon, two parallel sessions were held to present concrete examples of projects where geosciences play a key role in the implementation of the energy transition. The first session was dedicated to the CHPM2030 project. As stated in previous presentations, the European economy is heavily dependent upon energy and mineral supply for industry and society. Lowering the costs and the environmental impact of energy production and decreasing the dependence on imported strategic raw materials are therefore key challenges. CHPM2030 is an ambitious research project funded by the European Union under the Horizon 2020 programme for Research and Innovation that has been set up to help address these challenges. CHPM2030 is indeed developing a novel technology that will combine geothermal energy production with metals extraction from the geothermal fluid in a single interlinked process, the Combined Heat Power and Metals (CHPM) technology. During this dedicated session, the project team introduced preliminary outcomes of the project which will end in June 2019 and aims at creating a proof of concept for the CHPM technology at a laboratory scale. Following a general introduction by the coordinating team from the University of Miskolc (Éva Hartai and Tamás Madarász), the work package leaders provided a more technical overview about the work carried out since the project started in 2016. This ranged from tests regarding metal content mobilisation from deep ore bodies (Chris Rochelle, British Geological Survey), to metal recovery from geothermal fluids (Xochitl Dominguez, VITO), salt gradient power generation by reverse electrodialysis (Joost Helsen, VITO), and aspects of system integration and the conceptual framework for the CHPM plant (Árni Ragnarsson, Iceland GeoSurvey). In addition, the project team also analysed the technology’s economic feasibility as well as environmental aspects (Wojtech Wertich, MinPol). To conclude the session, Tamás Miklovicz from La Palma Research Centre (LPRC) presented the preliminary roadmap for the further development of CHPM. Roadmapping involved tools like Horizon Scanning, Delphi surveys, and study area reports which led to the preparation for pilots’ stage during which four potential test sites in the UK, Portugal, Romania and Sweden were identified. This has been completed by the compilation of a European database of potential sites identified by the European Federation of Geologists’ national associations which collaborate as Linked Third Parties in the project. The roadmap foresees the development of at least one full pilot by 2030 and full-scale development of the technology by 2050. To stick to this schedule, it is now crucial to get industrial partners and investors on board.
The second afternoon session presented a wide array of examples illustrating that technology is improving rapidly, turning for instance formerly non-promising technologies such as Carbon Capture and Storage into short-term options. The innovative technologies presented included the combination of CO2 storage with geothermal power generation and subsurface energy storage (Martin Saar, ETH Zürich), the GEOCOND project which works on advanced materials and processes to improve performance and cost-efficiency of shallow geothermal systems and UTES (Jose Manuel Cuevas Castell, Technical University of Valencia), and subsurface energy storage and buffering via ATES and shallow geothermal plants (David Klemetz, WSP Sweden). Furthermore, the importance of geotechnical expertise for the deployment of new infrastructure such as offshore foundations (Kenneth Gavin, TU Delft) or solar installations (Ramón Perez, Tecsolgeo) was highlighted. Finally, the key role of mineral raw materials in the energy transition and the importance of data harmonisation were reminded on basis of the EU-funded ORAMA project (Perttu Mikkola, Geological Survey of Finland). From the wrap-up of the afternoon sessions, it became clear that geoscientists play a key role in all these fields and their knowledge and expertise is central for the energy transition.
Full information about the event:
European Federation of Geologists
30 Things, released recently by the Minerals Council of Australia, focusses on the science of materials, materials that mineral and energy explorers, resources developers and miners and petroleum producers find, extract and create for the economies, nations and people of the world.
30 Things is a great resource for pointing out the contribution of minerals and metals to everyday life – things we take for granted like:
- iPads, smartphones and X-boxes
- your home
- wind generators and solar panels
- even the Melbourne Cup.
Download 30 Things in PDF format from the Minerals Council of Australia website.
High-tech metals are used in rapidly growing advanced-technology industries that are now being boosted by consumer demand for a high-tech, connected and environmentally sustainable future.
The Geological Survey of NSW has released a map, report and a series of fact sheets highlighting their state’s contribution to this emerging sector of Australia’s minerals industry.
The variety of products using high-tech metals are almost endless: from tiny mobile phone parts through to medical applications such as hip replacements and pace makers; from storing solar energy at the home to electric vehicle components and parts for huge wind turbines; even flying above us in parts for aircraft and satellites – high-tech metals play an important role in modern life.
NSW is rich in high-tech metals, offering exciting opportunities.
This map shows areas in NSW that currently produce, or have the potential to produce, high-tech metals including:
- copper and gold
- rare earth elements (REEs), including scandium
- platinum group elements (PGEs)
- cobalt, lithium, titanium and zirconium.
The map also explains the sources and uses of high-tech metals, contains important project summaries, and provides charts of current world production and reserves. A detailed glossary and reference list are also included.
Find out more on the NSW Geological Survey website.