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BHP Boss Warns Failing on Critical Minearls

Geraldine Slattery, who oversees BHP’s nickel, copper, iron ore and coal operations, has fired a warning on critical minerals supply needed for global decarbonisation efforts.

In a speech to the US Chamber of Commerce this week, the boss of BHP Australia warned the Australian government needed to do more to ensure critical minerals supply for the world.

Slattery also admitted that demand for iron ore, coal and natural gas is expected to “moderate and decline” over time, as China moves beyond its period of steel-intensive economic development, and global decarbonisation plays out she said. 

“To be globally competitive Australia will need to do more,” Slattery told the room in Melbourne.

Slattery said critical minerals will need to support the growth of Australia’s economy as fossil fuels demand fell, yet the country was not yet prepared for the realities:

Other nations are aggressively moving to secure supplies and investment – as shown by the ambition and sheer scale of the US Inflation Reduction Act.

Canada is using initiatives like its $4 billion Critical Mineral Strategy to secure its position.

Indonesia, as I mentioned, continues to boost nickel production and attract downstream processing – and the European Commission’s Green Deal Industrial Plan is designed to increase their competitiveness,” she said.

Industry and government have a shared responsibility to work together to create the conditions needed to bring more capital into Australia to fund our nascent critical minerals sector..

Today, in the foothills of a critical minerals boom, Australia has high-quality but immaturely developed resources, with a dwindling talent pool, and a less certain investment environment.

We are at risk of losing our competitive edge, and with it our future prosperity. 

We need to find new ways of doing things, and work more closely together – across governments, industry, and business. 

That’s what other countries are doing – right now.

If we want Australia to become a superpower in critical minerals we must – in the national interest – do the same as a matter of urgency. 

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