IEA to launch security programme for minerals critical to energy sector

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is launching a program to…

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The International Energy Agency (IEA) is launching a program to secure minerals vital to energy security as demand grows rapidly and output remains in the hands of a few major producers, its chief executive said on Tuesday. supply.

Fatih Birol said the production of electric vehicles, solar panels and other energy equipment requires a steady supply of minerals such as lithium, cobalt and copper. Birol said the IEA continues to monitor oil and gas markets, but energy technology supply chains represent an important new security challenge. “That’s why we are launching a program to secure critical minerals,” he said in a speech.

“Currently, firstly, we cannot meet the demand and secondly, we cannot produce these critical minerals in one or two countries,” he said. He gave no further details but said the plan was “inspired by our oil security mechanism,” which requires member countries to hold enough oil stocks for 90 days to be released in the event of a global supply disruption.

China is the largest producer of 30 of 50 critical materials and the world’s leading miner and processor of rare earths, according to a document last year by the Aerospace Industries Association. The country last year imposed export restrictions on gallium, germanium and graphite types to protect its dominance in the strategic metal.

The move by the IEA comes as countries step up efforts to reduce emissions and require immediate supplies of critical minerals such as lithium, copper, nickel, cobalt, manganese and graphite for batteries, as well as for wind turbines and electric vehicles. Rare earth elements.

This new demand raises concerns about price volatility and supply security, with the International Energy Agency warning that geopolitics will remain a key consideration even in an electrified, renewable-rich energy system. Last July, the agency published its first Critical Minerals Market Review and in September hosted the first international summit on critical minerals and their role in the clean energy transition.

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