30 Jan 2023, 12:48
Carolina Kyllmann

German chancellor Scholz wants to secure critical raw materials from South America

Clean Energy Wire

German chancellor Olaf Scholz wants promote energy cooperation and secure critical raw materials for the energy transition from South America. The politician is visiting Argentina, Chile and Brazil between 28 and 31 January, and has announced cooperation agreements in the areas of energy supply, energy security and raw materials. In Argentina, Germany wants to promote projects involving hydrogen or power-to-x (PtX) pathways and “make use of the opportunities” in both countries. “Argentina has great potential to make solutions possible that are of great importance to the world — but of course also for Argentina itself, especially when it comes to the development of wind power, solar energy, hydropower and of course also the development of green hydrogen,” Scholz said in a press conference. “Argentina wants to become a secure supplier of gas and energy,” the country’s president Alberto Ángel Fernández added, referring to Argentina’s natural gas reserves. “We also talked about lithium and green hydrogen. All this needs investment.” Partnerships should benefit both countries, Scholz stressed, adding that when raw material deposits are used in a country, the country itself should also reap the benefits. Argentina will join the G7’s ‘Climate Club’, which aims to push the climate-friendly transition of the industry sector.

Cooperation between Chile and Germany will focus on renewable energies and hydrogen, as Chile has a lot of potential opportunities and excellent conditions to produce hydrogen that’s climate-neutral, Scholz said. Moreover, German companies want to expand their raw material partnerships with Chile, particularly in lithium, which is needed to produce batteries for electric cars. In turn, Germany is “happy to support Chile on its path to sustainable mining,” Scholz said. A cooperation agreement on the German-Chilean Partnership for Mining, Raw Materials and the Circular Economy was signed, along with a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the field of research, development and innovation. The chancellor will visit Brazil today (30 January), with the environment and climate high on the agenda now that Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has returned to power.

Additionally, Scholz hopes to invigorate the ratification process of the EU-Mercosur trade deal with his visit to South America. “It is important that everyone now makes a constructive contribution so that we can reach an agreement and find a way to bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion soon,” he said after his visit to Argentina. Germany is working on diversifying its energy sources following years of reliance on Russian fossil fuels. Through soaring demand for critical raw materials and geopolitical concerns, the country also hopes to reduce its reliance on China for materials key to the energy transition. South America is rich in materials such as iron, steel, copper and lithium.

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