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APPG Critical Minerals – Minister Ghani in conversation with Ed Conway

On 13 March, the APPG for Critical Minerals was pleased to host Minister Ghani, Minister of State at the Department for Business and Trade, in conversation with Ed Conway, the Economics Editor of Sky News.

 

Cherilyn Mackrory MP, Chair of the APPG for Critical Minerals, commenced the session by welcoming the many members of UK critical minerals industry, academia, and other stakeholders that had travelled and convened at the Houses of Parliament for this event. “We are united by an interest in critical minerals,” Cherilyn emphasised, and thanked the Critical Minerals Association (UK) for its work as the APPG Secretariat before introducing Minister Ghani.

 

“I’m incredibly passionate about critical minerals and critical mineral supply chains,” said Minister Ghani. “They’re often overlooked but absolutely key” to our prosperity as a nation. The Minister highlighted the diversity of her portfolio and its relevance to critical minerals (particularly as the Minister responsible for advanced manufacturing), as well as the fantastic companies, firms and academic institutions within the UK that play an integral role in the nation’s Green Industrial Revolution. The Minister and her Department (the Department for Business and Trade) remains dedicated to bringing value to and building confidence in the UK’s critical minerals sector as key pillars of the UK’s Critical Minerals Strategy, Advanced Manufacturing Plan (supported by £4.5 billion in funding), Battery Strategy, Semiconductor Strategy, and Critical Imports & Supply Chains Strategy.

 

“We must diversify as much as we can,” Minister Ghani said. “And we can’t achieve any of our goals if we don’t work internationally.” The Minister also flagged her trip to Riyadh in February for the 2024 Future Minerals Forum, as well as the critical mineral MoUs that UK Government have signed in the past year with Saudi Arabia, Japan, Zambia, Australia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia. Ongoing negotiations for a Critical Minerals Agreement with the U.S. are underway, listed as a priority action in the Atlantic Declaration signed by President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in June 2023.

 

Minister Ghani concluded by stating that it is neither an exaggeration nor a cliché to label critical minerals as fundamental to “the future of the planet and the future of humanity”.

 

The Minister then gave the floor to Ed Conway. Together in conversation the Minister and Ed explored and highlighted a multitude of issues related to critical mineral supply chains: the progress Government has made since the publication of the Critical Minerals Refresh in March 2023, the Minerals Security Partnership, the challenge of the diminishing talent pipeline (which Minister Ghani admitted that UK Government needs to do more to address), UK sanctions on Russia, the upcoming US election and its anticipated impact on the IRA, the investment landscape, energy costs and subsidies, the role of industrial clusters, and improving the UK’s metals recycling capability and waste legislation.

 

Thank you to everyone who attended our meeting of the APPG on Critical Minerals. Special thanks to Cherilyn Mackrory MP, Chair of the APPG, and Baroness Northover, Vice Chair of the APPG; Minister Ghani and Ed Conway; Matt Hatfield, Critical Minerals Lead at the Department for Business and Trade; as well as attending representatives of US, Canadian, Australian and Kazakh government.


Chair of the APPG Cherilyn Mackrory MP (far left); Minister Ghani answering a question posed by Ed Conway (centre); with Baroness Northover, Vice Chair of the APPG (far right)

Article by Eileen Maes, Communications Manager, Critical Minerals Association (UK)


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