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Secretary Antony J. Blinken And European Commission Executive Vice-President and EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis at Minerals Security Partnership Forum Launch

MR RUBINACCI:  Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis, Secretary of State Blinken, ministers, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this inaugural event of the Minerals Security Partnership Forum.  Many thanks to our distinguished hosts who are here in presence with us today, and hello to all of those who are connecting online.

We will hear opening remarks by our two co-hosts and then the opening remarks of the ministers who are joining us in presence, and then we will move to listening to those who have connected online.  A very simple housekeeping rule:  The order of speaking has already been set.  The microphones have been disabled, but they will be enabled when it is their time to speak.

Without any further ado, Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis.

MR DOMBROVSKIS:  Honorable Secretary Blinken, Honorable Ministers Alweendo, Sharlapaev, Kudratov, Honorable Deputy Minister Kuzio, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, it’s a great pleasure to welcome you to the launch of the Minerals Security Partnership Forum in cooperation with Secretary Blinken.  Thank you for joining us today to discuss how to address together the challenge of ensuring a sustainable and secure raw materials global value chain as a way that benefits both raw materials producing and consumer countries.

Without critical raw materials, there will be no green and digital transition.  Secure, long-term access to sustainable raw materials is necessary to enable green and digital technologies from manufacturing chips, electric vehicles, wind turbines, solar panels, or telecommunications equipment, among many others.

So today our governments, industries and societies face a triple policy challenge.  Many countries want to diversify and secure their sourcing of critical raw materials to reduce their overdependence on a single or very few suppliers.  Meanwhile, producing countries want to add value locally to their raw materials by developing their local processing and refining capacities.  In addition, mining, processing, and recycling must be made sustainable and respect high environmental, social, and government standards.

The increased supply of raw materials must be achieved in such a way that negative impacts on environment are minimalized and the highest standards of labor rights are ensured in dialogue with local communities.

Last year, President von der Leyen announced the creation of a Critical Raw Materials Club to address policy challenges together with our partners, and I would like to thank United States for joining forces and effectively merging the concept of the club with the project-based focus of Minerals Security Partnership Forum.

The MSP Forum is designed to become a unique platform to shape global policies on critical raw materials.  It will bring together consuming and resource-rich countries.  It is an effort to cooperate and to develop together policies that foster investment, addressing sustainability issues, and assist resource-rich countries in their ambition to develop local processing capacities and move up the value-added chain.  We’ll do it together involving our governments, businesses, and civil society.

So I look forward for a discussion today and your ideas on how to address life in the MSP Forum.  And with this, I would like to pass the floor to Secretary Blinken.  Please.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Valdis, thank you very, very much, and colleagues, thank you so much for being here today and those joining us online as well.  I think it’s recognition – everyone’s presence, participation today – that critical mineral supply chains are vital to our shared future.  The transition to clean energy is essential to addressing the climate crisis and energy access at the same time.

What I think we recognize as well is that we need to scale up our critical mineral supply chains to deploy clean technologies more quickly, more effectively.  The demand is rising.  By 2040, demand for lithium is expected to grow by more than 40 percent.  Graphite, cobalt, nickel demand is set to grow 20 to 25 times.

So two years ago, we launched the Minerals Security Partnership.  Today, there are 14 partner governments and the European Union.  We represent more than 50 percent of global GDP.  The MSP is supporting already projects that strengthen clean energy supply chains, while at the same time upholding transparency, upholding good governance, fair working conditions, environmental standards.  And we’re going beyond extraction to a partnership model where producer countries reap full dividends and, as Valdis said, can move up the value chain.

We have 23 projects around the world right now, and all of them prioritize high standards.  Just by way of example, last year, Australian-based EcoGraf signed an agreement with the Tanzanian Government on mining.  It’s going to produce high-purity graphite products for lithium ion batteries that power electronic – electric vehicles, renewables.  It’s projected to deliver $3 billion in direct benefits to Tanzania and create thousands of local jobs.

The projects involve a range of minerals at every stage of the production chain from mining and mineral extraction to processing, to recycling and recovery.  And the goal is to build on this foundation, on the Minerals Security Partnership’s foundation, with more minerals-producing and consuming countries.  With Ukraine, Namibia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan being here and everyone joining virtually, we see the strong growing attraction of this initiative.

We created a forum, a Minerals Security Partnership Forum, last month to elevate as well as to formalize engagement with mineral-producing countries.  And as Valdis said, there are basically two lines of effort: identify, finance, and accelerate strategic projects in mineral-rich countries by leveraging collective resources; and second, promote policies that create more diverse and more resilient supply chains.

There is tremendous opportunity in the clean energy transition if we work together.  So we’re really here today especially to listen, to hear from partners, to hear from prospective partners, about how we can achieve shared goals that are really critical to the future of all of our countries.  Thanks so much for being here.

Official news published at https://www.state.gov/secretary-antony-j-blinken-and-european-commission-executive-vice-president-and-eu-trade-commissioner-valdis-dombrovskis-at-minerals-security-partnership-forum-launch/

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