Beijing has been warned it will face a hostile reaction if it tries to cut vital mineral exports to the United States.
At a closed forum in Melbourne hosted by Hamilton Wealth Partners, former Australian ambassador to the US and former federal treasurer Joe Hockey said there had been discussions in the US that Beijing could cut supplies next year. .Australian newspaper of important minerals to the west report.
“Regarding important minerals, my concern is that there are beginning to be some reports in the United States that suggest this. [Chinese Leader] Xi Jinping, as of next year, China will start denying supplies of critical minerals to the United States and elsewhere,” Hockey said.
“The US would go insane if they only started adjusting their taps now.”
The comments from Hockey came after the Biden administration moved on Oct. 7 to cut off the Chinese administration from certain semiconductor chips and their manufacturing technology made with U.S. technology.
The move was seen as a follow-up to the CHIPS and Science Act signed into law by US President Joe Biden in August.
US may pivot to Australia to close critical mineral gap
But Hockey noted that if Beijing decided to cut exports of vital minerals to the United States, it would create a real opportunity for Australia to fill gaps in its supply chain.
“In reality, Australia is poised to become a very important supplier to the United States and its Western allies, national security companies and larger key industries. Getting involved is on track,” Hockey said.
The former ambassador also said Washington is looking to invest heavily in Australia for certain projects that will ensure US supply chains.
“They’ve never really done that before. They’ve never used taxpayer money to invest in another country to get a guaranteed supply chain in a critical sector. That’s Australia. It’s an opportunity for us,” he said.
The move to secure supplies of vital minerals for the US comes after Biden signed it. presidential decree Protect America’s supply chains from a wide range of risks and vulnerabilities.
of Australian Investment Commission (AUSTRADE) said it hopes the executive order will increase interest in Australian rare earth materials. In particular, it points to potential interest from electric car makers in Australia.
“U.S. processors will consider partnering with mining companies that can guarantee supplies from friendly countries,” said Austrade. “Australian mining companies will find themselves in a strong competitive position as important US-based mineral processors look to expand their capacity.”
General Motors ahead of its time
Some US companies are getting ahead of possible cuts in supplies from China and are already looking for Australian partners in their supply chains.
General Motors (GM) has struck a landmark deal with an Australian company for the production and supply of critical minerals for a new tranche of electric vehicle (EV) batteries.
The agreement is important to secure “all battery raw materials to support GM’s goal of 1 million EV capacity in North America by the end of 2025,” GM said on Oct. 11. . statement.
Jeff Morrison, GM’s vice president of global purchasing and supply chain, said:
The deal is contingent on a commitment of $69 million under which GM will acquire nickel and cobalt sulfate from Queensland Pacific Metals (QPM)’s proposed Townsville Energy and Chemicals hub in northern Australia over a period of 15 years. to be purchased in an uncommitted state.
According to GM, nickel and cobalt will power the automaker’s broad portfolio of trucks, SUVs, vans and luxury vehicles, including the Chevrolet Silverado EV, GMC Hummer EV pickup and SUV, Cadillac Lyric, Chevrolet Blazer EV and Chevrolet. help. Equinox EV.
“Our partnership with Queensland Pacific Metals will provide GM with a safe, cost-competitive, long-term supply of nickel and cobalt from our free trade agreement partners to support our fast-growing EV production needs. You can do that,” Morrison said.
He said the agreement demonstrates GM’s “commitment to building strong supplier relationships and is consistent with our approach to responsible sourcing and supply chain management.”