Canada, South Korea seek deeper cooperation on critical minerals

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By Steve Scherer

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol agreed Friday to deepen cooperation on essential minerals used in batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) as both countries look to strive to reduce emissions to combat climate change.

Yoon visited London for Queen Elizabeth’s funeral, then New York on his first trip to the US to attend the UN General Assembly, before arriving in Canada on Thursday. On Friday, Yoon met Trudeau in Ottawa, and then they both spoke to reporters.

“Yoon and I discussed ways to collaborate in a variety of areas, including essential minerals, electric vehicle batteries and emerging technologies, including AI (artificial intelligence),” Trudeau told reporters.

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Canada has many of the critical minerals — such as lithium, cobalt and nickel — now used to make batteries for EVs, and the government is trying to help manufacturers and processors scale production.

“Canada, as the world leader in mineral production, and Korea, a major manufacturer of semiconductors and batteries – each play a critical role in global supply chains,” Yoon said through an interpreter.

“The governments and companies of our two countries will work together for the mineral resources sector to build a cooperative architecture…to respond to the shocks resulting from the changing world order,” Yoon added. .

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China is currently by far the dominant global supplier of essential minerals used in EVs. Yoon said it was strategic for both countries to find an alternative supplier.

Canada and South Korea are already working together in the sector, Trudeau emphasizes.

In March, Stellantis, the parent company of Jeep and Chrysler, said it would build an electric car plant in a joint venture with South Korea’s LG Energy Solution in Windsor, across the Detroit border.

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In a joint statement, the two countries said they agreed to deepen their “strategic partnership on supply chain resilience” and would like to position themselves as “competitive players in the critical supply chain of minerals and the value chains for batteries and electric vehicles.” “.

To that end, both countries agreed to develop a Memorandum of Understanding in the coming months to “support the clean energy transition and energy security, including with regard to critical minerals”.

(Reporting by Steve Scherer; editing by Sandra Maler)

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