Labor probably wants the mining industry to remember its bold election promises rather than a slight faux pas about what exactly is a rare earth and what is a precious or base metal.

Shadow minister assisting for resources Madeleine King took to the stage on day one of the Lithium & Battery Metals Conference in Perth on Wednesday to try and win WA miners over with Labor’s election pitch.

Talking about the skills and technology needed to find new big discoveries, Ms King got slightly confused about what exactly is considered a rare earth element.

“These deposits are the mines of the future and we need to do more to find the critical commodities that will power our future mining experts like rare earth elements such as copper, gold and lithium,” she told delegates.


In her defence, she did admit that she knew a lot less about the “technical” aspects of mining than everyone else in the room.

“I hope I don’t disappoint, my address will be a lot less technical than the last one. I really don’t have the depth of knowledge that many of you do in that technical sense,” she said.

We’re pretty sure we don’t have to tell all of you the difference between a rare earth element and copper, gold and lithium. Right?