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Critical minerals strategy open for debate

2nd December 2022

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

     

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PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The federal government has released a discussion paper and opened public consultation on the future of the critical minerals industry in Australia.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Madeleine King said the consultations would inform the government’s new Critical Minerals Strategy and help the sector capitalise on the global boom in demand for clean energy technologies.

“The Australian government is committed to growing Australia’s critical minerals resources and industries which will be crucial to help Australia and the world to meet our commitments to net zero emissions by 2050,” King said.

“Australia has an exciting opportunity to leverage our abundant critical mineral resources to support the development of low-emissions technologies, and to become a trusted, stable and reliable supplier to the world.

“Critical minerals are also crucial for technologies that power our homes, offices, factories, vehicles and mobile phones, as well as for medical technology and defence applications.”

King said the 2023 Critical Minerals Strategy would focus on creating economic opportunities, including for regional Australia, and on developing new sovereign capabilities in downstream processing as well as Australia’s manufacturing industries.

“By leveraging our competitive advantages, the critical minerals we mine and refine here, can help us move up the value chain and into downstream processing, helping to create new opportunities and high-paying jobs across Australia, including in our regions,” she said.

Australia already produces almost half of the world’s lithium, and is the second-largest producer of cobalt and the fourth-largest producer of rare earths.

However, demand for low-emissions technologies is projected to skyrocket over the next three decades, which is expected to lead to more demand for lithium, cobalt, graphite and rare earth elements, among others.

King said that government would bring together stakeholders across a range of sectors to ensure that all views on the opportunities, challenges and solutions faced by the sector were heard to help inform policies.

She said the issues in the discussion paper reflected the importance of the critical minerals industry to the government and Australia’s ambition to become a clean energy superpower.

It will also focus on helping Australia build reliable, competitive and diverse supply chains, attracting international partners and investment, and meeting Australia’s ongoing commitment to the highest environmental, social and governance standards and net zero goals.

King also said the new strategy would ensure that critical minerals were mined and processed in ways that made a positive contribution to the lives of local communities, First Nations Australians and the quality of the natural environment.

“We will consult widely with industry and community stakeholders, including First Nations Peoples, to develop a new strategy to build and strengthen the sector and attract investment,” she said.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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