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IEA Summit Plots Path to Sustainable Use of Critical Minerals

State and non-state actors gathered for the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) inaugural Critical Minerals and Clean Energy Summit on 28 September, identifying six key actions to secure sustainable and reliable supplies of critical minerals. Attendees of the summit agreed that progress towards diversified minerals supplies, new technology and recycling capacity, increased transparency, data availability, sustainable incentives, and international collaboration are required to ensure a rapid and secure global energy transition utilising critical minerals in a responsible manner. “The level of over-concentration that we see in critical minerals markets today is unlike that for any other major commodity we have come to rely on in the modern world,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. “History has shown us that failing to properly diversify supplies and trade routes of essential resources comes with profound risks.” The IEA’s first annual ‘Critical Minerals Market Review’ in July highlighted that a record deployment of clean energy technologies is propelling huge demand for minerals such as lithium and cobalt. “Fostering inclusive dialogue must be at the forefront of the critical minerals agenda as we navigate this complex and multifaceted issue within the clean energy transition,” said Birol. The IEA will hold a Ministerial Meeting in February next year, where countries will be invited to assess what critical minerals mean for the changing landscape of international cooperation on energy security and climate change. The agency will also announce the next phase of the IEA Voluntary Critical Mineral Security Programme, which will include options for stockpiling and other measures to ensure transparent and resilient supply chains. 

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