AKBC e-Newsletter March

Dear AKBC Members,

It has been another busy month for the AKBC, as the interest in the Australia-Korea relationship continues to grow, reflecting the shared vision and commitment to leveraging the vast opportunities in a range of sectors. This past month we have seen significant developments in the critical minerals sectors, a sector that not only fortifies the economic ties between our two nations but also strategically aligns with the global shift towards sustainable and secure supply chains in clean-energy and defence industries.

We are proud to acknowledge the strides made by our member, Arafura Resources, in this vital sector. Arafura has recently secured Australian Government funding through the Critical Minerals Facility, Northern Australia Facility, and Export Finance Australia, enabling the establishment of Australia’s second rare earths refinery. This refinery is pivotal for producing minerals essential to the clean-energy and defence sectors. Arafura is set to supply rare earths to South Korean automaker Hyundai among others. The company's growth trajectory is further bolstered by the strategic partnerships fostered between South Korean and Australian governments and signals the opportunity between our two countries in this sector. In a significant financial endorsement, the South Korean export credit agency KEXIM has indicated a willingness to extend $US150 million ($226 million) to Arafura, showcasing the strong financial and strategic confidence in this venture.

In parallel, we extend our congratulations to Australian Strategic Materials (ASM), an Accelerate member of AKBC, for securing up to US$600M (A$923M) from the Export-Import Bank of the United States (US EXIM) for the Dubbo project. This project is set to enhance the reliable, responsible, and secure global access to critical minerals. ASM's operation of the Korean Metals Plant (KMP) in Ochang, South Korea, producing neodymium and neodymium iron boron alloys for electric vehicles and wind turbines, exemplifies the strategic synergy and control over the supply chain, also fortifying our bilateral relations in this sector.

Critical minerals is one of AKBC’s six priority sectors, where we aim to deepen the collaboration between Australia and Korea. To this end, we are organising a critical minerals sub-committee meeting in May in Perth. Furthermore, the sector will be a focal point during our Chairman-led delegation to Korea mid-year, and will be prominently featured at the 45th AKBC-KABC Joint Meeting in Perth, including a dedicated batteries/critical minerals site visit. These initiatives underscore our commitment to enhancing the Australia-Korea partnership in critical minerals, ensuring a sustainable and secure future for both nations in this pivotal industry.

In addition to these sector-specific activities, AKBC is hosting an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) on 16 April to adopt a new constitution and transition the registration of AKBC to a company limited by guarantee. This change signifies a pivotal moment in our organisation's evolution, enhancing our capability to support and promote the Australia-Korea business relationship. We eagerly anticipate our members' support at the EGM and look forward to continuing to deepen our impact.



Liz Griffin


Australia-Korea Business Council

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