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EU, U.S., Uzbekistan and other partners strengthen critical raw materials cooperation

US STATE DEPARTMENT
The inaugural Minerals Security Partnership Forum, Leuven, Belgium, April 5, 2024.

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The European Union, the United States, and other Minerals Security Partnership (MSP) partners, joined by Kazakhstan, Namibia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan, officially launched the Minerals Security Partnership Forum (MSP Forum) which will serve as a new platform for cooperation in the area of critical raw materials (CRMs) vital for the global green and digital transitions.

The Forum will bring together resource-rich countries and countries with high demand for critical raw material resources.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, accompanied by Under Secretary Jose W. Fernandez, hosted an event with the European Commission Executive Vice President and Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis to formally launch on April 5 the Minerals Security Partnership (MSP) Forum in Leuven, Belgium.

Ministers from MSP partner economies and minerals-producing countries were invited to participate virtually and in person. Additional in-person attendees included Namibia’s Mines and Energy Minister Thomas Alweendo, Ukraine’s Deputy Economy Minister Volodymyr Kuzio, Kazakhstan’s Industry and Construction Minister Kanat Sharlapaev and Uzbekistan’s Investment, Industry, and Trade Minister Laziz Kudratov.

MSP partners first announced the creation of the MSP Forum in March on the margins of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) Convention in Toronto.  The MSP Forum cements the MSP’s partnership with minerals producing countries committed to advancing and accelerating individual projects with high environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards, the U.S. State Department said in a statement, adding that the MSP Forum provides a platform for MSP partners and Forum members to consider and advance both projects and policies.

“Together, they will promote diverse and resilient supply chains while supporting local industry and capacity. The Project component of the MSP Forum, led by the United States, may include project information sharing among MSP partners, Forum members, and the private sector; presentations on critical minerals opportunities, technical collaboration, and more. The Policy Dialogue component of the MSP Forum, led by the EU, may include topics such as policies to boost sustainable production and local capacities; discussions on regulatory cooperation to foster fair competition and transparency; policies to foster application of high ESG standards; and policies to promote and facilitate effective recycling,” the statement read.

EU-Uzbekistan sign MoU on critical raw materials

On April 5, the EU and Uzbekistan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) launching a strategic partnership on critical raw materials (CRMs), marking a significant step towards securing a diversified and sustainable supply of CRMs for the green and digital transitions both in the EU and Uzbekistan.

Dombrovskis and Kudratov signed the MoU which underscores the partners’ shared commitment to enhance cooperation in the field of CRMs.

This strategic partnership focuses on the following areas of cooperation:

* Integration of sustainable CRM value chains, including via networking, selection of project proposals, joint development of projects, promotion and facilitation of trade, and investment linkages along the whole value chain;

* Increasing the resilience of CRM supply chains and establishing a dialogue to enhance the transparency of measures related to investments, operations and exports;

* Mobilization of funding for projects resulting from the Partnership, as well as for the development of infrastructure required for the development of CRM value chains such as, but not limited to, the development of clean energy supply;

* Cooperation to achieve sustainable and responsible production and sourcing of CRMs;

* Cooperation on research and innovation, including the sharing of knowledge and technologies related to sustainable exploration, extraction, processing and recycling of CRMs;

* Cooperation on building of capacity to enforce relevant rules, and on developing training and skills.

Following the signature of the MoU, the EU and Uzbekistan will jointly work on the establishment of an operational roadmap with concrete implementation actions

In line with the objectives outlined in the 2020 Action Plan for Critical Raw Materials and the EU’s external energy engagement strategy, this partnership highlights the EU’s commitment to establishing mutually beneficial CRM value chain partnerships with resource-rich countries, the European Commission said in a press release.

Uzbekistan has the second-largest reserves of CRMs in Central Asia, boasting significant deposits of various minerals such as copper, molybdenum, and gold. The country’s mining strategy aligns with its ambitions to increase the processing of CRMs for both domestic and international industries, particularly in automotive and consumer electronics.

 

 

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