Australia seeks Japan’s help to be critical minerals ‘superpower’ – by Michael Smith (Australian Financial Review – April 21, 2023)

Tokyo | Australian critical mineral producers say Japan offers crucial capital and a growing market for their products at a time when the federal government is promoting investment from “like-minded” countries instead of dominant player China.

A delegation of Australian critical minerals companies visiting Tokyo this week said they were optimistic about Japan’s ability to replicate the huge investments it has made in Australian gas and iron ore over the decades, but they also warned it was pointless trying to compete with China.

“We hear a lot about competing with China, but I don’t think there is competition. I just don’t think we can compete, because we are playing a different game,” said Sam Riggall, chief executive of nickel and cobalt group Sunrise Energy Metals. He was referring to Australia’s high operating and ESG standards.

“When people say do we need to block China from investing in Australia, I don’t think it’s an issue. Most Chinese companies don’t consider Australia a good investment destination for these metals because they don’t want to incur the cost of doing it properly.”

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