21 April 2023

HVM Catapult CEO chairs first independent Critical Minerals Taskforce meeting 

Katherine Bennett CBE has chaired the first meeting of the government’s independent Task & Finish Group on Industry Resilience for Critical Minerals.

HVM Catapult CEO, Katherine Bennett CBE, has chaired the inaugural meeting of the government’s independent Task & Finish Group on Industry Resilience for Critical Minerals. The group brings together independent experts to advise the government on where dependencies exist in the UK’s critical mineral supply chains, and how industry can protect its supply.

Certain minerals are essential for the technologies the nation depend on for jobs, economic growth, and everyday life, from mobile phones to wind turbines. Minerals like graphite, lithium and silicon are vital to the economy as they are irreplaceable components in products ranging from laptops to aircraft. “Critical” minerals are defined as those that are important and have high levels of supply risk.

Attending the meeting, Business and Trade Minister Nusrat Ghani said:

We rely on critical minerals far more than people realise. They’re essential to much of what keeps society going, from medical equipment saving lives in hospitals to wind turbines keeping our economy powered up.

In an increasingly uncertain world, it’s clear we must do more to safeguard our supply chains – because as the name suggests, these minerals really are critical to our future. This group of experts will help us build resilient supply chains that will make a strong foundation for the new, green industries we’re backing to deliver jobs and growth for decades to come.

The Task & Finish Group was commissioned by Minister Ghani and announced in the recent Critical Minerals Refresh publication. Members of the independent group have been drawn from key industry sectors that depend on critical minerals, as well as experts with insights into the supply vulnerabilities of UK industry. The group will deliver an independent report to government later this year.

Katherine Bennett CBE, Chair of the Critical Minerals Task & Finish Group and CEO High Value Manufacturing Catapult said:

Ground-breaking innovations need a reliable supply of raw materials to have real-world impact.

We need to be able to trust in our critical mineral supplies. Whether it’s more efficient batteries for electric vehicles or next-generation communications systems, the cutting-edge technologies of today and the innovations of tomorrow are only possible if we have secure supply chains.

Collaboration is key, and I look forward to working with our panel of cross-industry experts to help put the UK in the best position to grow and thrive.

In July 2022, HMG published the UK’s Critical Minerals Strategy to promote resilience in critical mineral supply chains, safeguarding UK industry, supporting the clean energy transition and protecting national security and defence capability.

To deliver these ambitions, collaboration between government, industry, academia and other stakeholders is vital. The Task & Finish Group will harness the wealth of expertise across UK industry – those that depend on a secure supply of critical minerals – to identify supply chain vulnerabilities and promote resilience and diversity, strengthening the competitiveness of the UK and helping grow the economy.

The original version of this story was released by the Department of Business & Trade here.

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