Chinese ambassador visits Australian miners, aims to deepen new-energy cooperation
Chinese ambassador visits Australian miners, pushes for new-energy cooperation
Published: Jun 12, 2022 09:57 PM
Imported iron ore is unloaded at a port in Suzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province on February 21, 2022. Photo: VCG

Imported iron ore is unloaded at a port in Suzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province on February 21, 2022. Photo: VCG

Chinese Ambassador to Australia Xiao Qian visited three mining companies in Perth, Western Australia over the weekend - Rio Tinto, BHP Group and Fortescue Metals Group - pushing for more cooperation in green technology and new energy under Australia's new administration, highlighting the potential for bilateral cooperation under a "new juncture."

During his visit to Rio Tinto's Operations Centre in Perth, the ambassador discussed with Rio Tinto Chairman Dominic Barton and CEO Jakob Stausholm issues involving iron ore and energy trade between China and Australia, as well as Rio Tinto's cooperation with China, according to a press release on the website of the Embassy of China in Australia.

Xiao praised Rio Tinto's efforts in developing a long-term win-win partnership with China.

"During the past 40 years of China's reform and opening-up, the China-Australia relationship has seen leapfrog development, pushing bilateral economic and trade cooperation to yield substantial and concrete outcomes and bringing tangible benefits to the two peoples," Xiao said.

As China unwaveringly promotes high-level opening-up, there are great potential and broad prospects for pragmatic China-Australia cooperation, the ambassador said.

"The collaboration between Rio Tinto and some of China's leading academic institutions, like Tsinghua University, and customers, including Baowu, will shape solutions on the way to a low-carbon future. One example is the development with our Chinese partners of the high-grade Simandou project in Guinea - essential for the decarbonization of the global steel industry," Stausholm said on his LinkedIn page on Saturday.

At BHP Group's remote control center in Perth, President of BHP's Minerals Australia Edgar Basto said that China is an important export destination for Australia's iron ore, according to a separate press release.

BHP has established a strong cooperation relationship with Chinese clients over the past years, and will continue to be a reliable iron ore supplier for China and to further deepen cooperation with China to make contributions for the development of the China-Australia relationship, Basto said.

The ore and energy trade between China and Western Australia is an exemplary model of win-win cooperation. China is Western Australia's largest export market for iron ore, its second-largest for oil and gas, and its third-largest for gold products.

Despite trade tension over the past several years, trade in goods between China and Australia reached A$265.88 billion ($188.32 billion) in 2021, more than 1,350 times that of 1972. 

Since 2009, China has been Australia's largest trading partner, official data showed.

Bilateral ties are at a "new juncture" with some new opportunities, the ambassador said, while addressing the national conference of the Australia China Friendship Society held in Perth on Saturday.

The two countries could continue to deepen traditional cooperation, while exploring emerging cooperation in green technology, new energy, healthcare, the digital economy and creative industries, and aligning green development strategies, according to Xiao.

While visiting a research and development base of Fortescue Future Industries under Fortescue Metals Group, the ambassador stressed that there are broad prospects for expanding new-energy cooperation between the two countries, saying that he hopes the company could deepen cooperation with its Chinese partners by taking its advantages in low carbon transformation to jointly contribute to carbon reduction.

To address climate change, China aims to increase its nationally determined contributions, and strive to achieve a peak in carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060. 

Australia's new administration is committed to fostering a diversified and sustainable growth pattern, and has set a target of reducing emissions by 43 percent by 2030.

The ambassador also visited Chinese new materials company Tianqi Lithium's battery-grade lithium hydroxide processing plant in Kwinana in Western Australia. He encouraged the company to earnestly advance the project, attach importance to pandemic-control and safe production, and shape a sound corporate image in a bid to contribute to deepening China-Australia economic and trade cooperation and the bilateral relationship.

"The embassy supports Chinese companies 'go global', and is willing to provide necessary assistance for these companies in Australia," Xiao said.