United States will look to expand strategic minerals initiative

June 3, 2020

The U.S. State Department will look to expand the Energy Resource Governance Initiative (ERGI) with the hopes of ensuring supply chains for critical minerals used for renewable energy sources while reducing dependence on China for those minerals.

Reuters reported that a top U.S. diplomat told the news agency of the plan to expand the initiative among 10 countries including Canada, Australia and Brazil who joined the United States last year to form ERGI. As part of the initiative, the United States will share mining experience to help countries discover and develop minerals such as lithium, copper and cobalt.

ERGI, part of an effort to reduce the world’s reliance on China for the high-tech materials, is also meant to provide advice to help ensure industries are attractive to international investors.

Next year, renewable power additions are forecast to rebound to the level reached in 2019.

Despite slower growth this year, construction delays and supply chain disruptions because of the COVID-19 pandemic, overall global renewable power capacity will grow by 6 percent in 2020, the International Energy Agency said late last month.

Next year, renewable power additions are forecast to rebound to the level reached in 2019.

“We are very much looking to expand ERGI to include other governments as well as governmental institutions,” Frank Fannon, the top U.S. energy diplomat, said in an interview.

Fannon said he has had conversations about ERGI with the European Commission. Increased participation in the group could include emerging-economy countries around the world, as well as Japan and other developed countries in Asia with strong energy demand, he said.

Fannon participated in a workshop on Tuesday with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which said in a report that the attractive prices of renewables relative to fossil-fuel power generation could help governments embrace green economic recoveries from the pandemic.

The other ERGI members are Botswana, Peru, Argentina, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Namibia, the Philippines and Zambia.

 

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