Korea leverages US-led alliance to secure materials for batteries and high-tech
The South Korean government and major conglomerates are leveraging the US-initiated alliance to preemptively secure critical minerals like rare-earth elements, lithium and cobalt that are essential building blocks. future technologies such as electric vehicles as part of a rapid transition to clean technologies.
A Mineral Security Partnership (MSP) ministerial-level meeting was held in New York on Thursday (local time) with 11 MSP partner countries, including South Korea and eight mineral-rich countries, to discuss the supply chain of critical minerals and materials. of the United Nations General Assembly.
“The South Korean government will actively contribute to the MSP which will play a key role in stabilizing and boosting investment in major mining projects around the world,” said Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin, who attended the meeting. meeting.
The 11 MSP partner countries other than South Korea and the United States are Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Japan, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom and the European Union, and the eight mineral-rich countries present were Argentina, Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Zambia.
The MSP was launched in June to strengthen supply chains of critical minerals essential to the clean energy transition and is also seen as an initiative to reduce dependence on China, which currently dominates the world. supply of critical minerals.
“To ensure these technologies (electric vehicles and batteries, wind turbines, solar panels) can be deployed quickly, we know we need to build resilient, diverse and secure critical mineral supply chains by supporting more successful critical mining projects” , US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at the meeting.
The MSP is expected to help Korea diversify its suppliers of critical minerals and alleviate concerns raised about the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) which discriminates against vehicles made in Korea with materials from China.
According to SK on Friday, SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won separately met with Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema in New York to propose a public-private partnership for copper foil, one of the main materials used in the cells. lithium-ion battery for electric vehicles.
“Zambia’s copper mines produce copper foil, a key material used in electric vehicle batteries, which can provide various opportunities for SK,” Chey said. SK can help Zambia in its clean energy transition and build Zambia’s manufacturing capacity, Chey added.
SK Group is the parent company of SK Nexilis, the world’s leading manufacturer of copper foil.
Hichilema accepted Chey’s proposal while hoping to continue detailed discussions between the two parties in the future.
If the SK Group’s partnership with Zambia materializes, the conglomerate will secure a secure supply of a key component of EV batteries amid the global supply chain crisis.
By Susan Lee
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