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The Chinese Prime Minister’s tour of Western Australia highlights the global race for crucial minerals

Chinese Premier Li Qiang visited a lithium processing plant in resource-rich Western Australia state on Tuesday, highlighting China’s push to secure critical minerals as Washington tries to break Beijing’s supply dominance.

Western Australia supplies more than half of the world’s iron ore by sea, with China the biggest customer, and half of its lithium is used in electric vehicles, smartphones and other electronic devices.

Li’s visit to Australia, which began on Sunday, is the first by a Chinese prime minister in seven years and marks a stabilization in ties between the US ally and the world’s second-largest economy.

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