The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) co-hosted the 31st Korea-Australia Joint Committee on Energy and Mineral Resources (JCEM) with Australia’s Department of Climate Change, Environment, Energy and Water, (DCCEEW) and Department of Industry, Science and Resources (DISR) at the Lotte Hotel Seoul on August 22.
JCEM is the official communication channel run since the 1980s on energy and mineral resources issues between Korea and Australia. The 31st meeting covered critical minerals for clean energy expansion and energy supply chain resilience, hydrogen, LNG and CCUS (carbon capture, utilization and storage).
Moreover, Korea requested Australia’s swift deposit of its instrument of acceptance of the London Convention amendments to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and also called for Australia’s proactive cooperation in signing their bilateral treaty.
The two countries signed a supply chain MOU for critical minerals in December 2021. As a follow-up to that milestone, a Korea-Australia working group for critical minerals was formed this February to kick various cooperation models into high gear, including joint R&D, mining and establishment of environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria. One of the goals is to hold a business roundtable involving the two countries’ mineral resources companies by the end of 2022.
In terms of natural gas, Australia is Korea’s second-largest supplier of LNG, while Korea is a steady investor in Australia’s LNG infrastructure through the Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS). Amid escalating tensions from the Russia-Ukraine situation, the consensus is that natural gas investments and trade will continue to bolster energy supply resilience.
In addition, the MOU on carbon-neutral technology and clean hydrogen economy signed in December 2021 has helped to create momentum for the hydrogen economy working group launched in February, which is expected to generate synergy for both hydrogen powerhouse Australia and hydrogen utilizer Korea.
Lastly, the two nations discussed measures to seek solutions in climate change response and clean energy through collaboration in areas like carbon-neutral technology, renewable energy and energy efficiency.