By Andreas Rinke
HIROSHIMA, Japan, May 19 (Reuters) – The Group of Seven (G7) rich nations should work together to access technology and secure sources of critical minerals for a green transition, creating additional manufacturing capacity rather than competition, a top European diplomat said on Friday.
The G7 is accelerating its push towards greener technologies after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine disrupted decades-long energy supply chains. The group also wants to cut reliance on China, which dominates critical mineral supply chain.
“Despite all geopolitical difficulties, the clean energy transition is accelerating,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a G7 leaders’ summit in the Japanese city of Hiroshima on Friday.
“Now that the G7 are in this race together, our competition should create additional manufacturing capacity and not come at each other’s expense,” she said.
G7 nations want to reach carbon-neutrality by 2050 at the latest, adding wind power, solar and other types of renewable energy to their consumption mix.
The European Union wants to be processing 40% of the critical raw materials it consumes by 2030, drastically reducing dependence on China. It now relies on China for more than 90% of minerals essential for wind power generation and batteries.
Von der Leyen said that the G7 should consider setting targets for the build up of global clean manufacturing capacity and establish more green alliances “among ourselves but also with other trusted partners”.
“Where we have specific concerns regarding fair competition, we should find ways to address them,” she said. “I hope we can take forward a Critical Raw Materials Club at this G7 meeting.”
G7 member Canada has many of the critical minerals, such as lithium, cobalt and nickel, that are used to make batteries for electric vehicles, and the government is in the process of seeking to help producers and processors scale up production.
Australia, which is not a G7 member, has rolled out a series of grants to critical mineral companies hoping to speed up development of a battery chemical industry. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is at the G7 summit, which runs until Sunday, as a guest.
(Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Katya Golubkova; Editing by Robert Birsel)