PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Federal Resources Minister Madeleine King has outlined the Commonwealth government’s measures to assist in developing the critical minerals industry in the country, among which was the development of a new Critical Minerals Strategy.
Speaking at the Australian Critical Minerals Summit, in Sydney, King said that the aim of the strategy was to create economic opportunity, including for regional Australian communities; develop new sovereign capabilities and industries, including growing the downstream processing and manufacturing capacity; and build reliable, competitive and diverse supply chains.
The strategy would also be focused on supporting clean energy technologies and ensuring high environmental, social and governance credentials, including genuine partnerships with First Nations Australians.
“The strategy will be developed in consultation with stakeholders – to ensure we hear the industry’s views on challenges and solutions that can inform government policies.
“There is an urgency to this work. We have little time to waste,” King said.
In addition to the development of the Critical Minerals Strategy, King also pointed out that the government in October allocated A$50-million over three years to the Critical Minerals Development Program for competitive grants to support early and mid-stage critical minerals projects.
This funding builds on the A$50-million recently committed to six key projects across Australia as part of Tranche 1 of the programme, leveraging over A$143-million in private sector co-investment.
“We are also investing A$50.5-million over four years for an Australian Critical Minerals R&D Hub to help unlock our nation’s critical minerals potential. The hub will bring together Australia’s world-leading government science agencies to address strategic technical challenges.
“The government’s contributions are intended to catalyse private sector investment, which continues to step up,” King said.
The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies has welcomed the government’s support measures, with CEO Warren Pearce saying the new national Critical Minerals Strategy was an opportunity to develop a clear path to accelerate the growth of critical minerals projects across Australia, to meet the country’s energy transition targets.
“Today’s announcement underlines the Prime Minister and Minister King's unwavering commitment to the Australian resources industry’s global leadership in the critical minerals sector.”
“Locking A$50.5-million into the Budget over four years to establish the Australian Critical Minerals Research and Development Hub, combining expertise from Geoscience Australia, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation is an investment into the future.
“The Hub’s expertise will fast-track the research and innovation needed to address technical challenges and continually find new ways of processing our natural resources.”
Pearce said that in addition to the government’s National Battery Strategy and Electric Vehicle Strategy, Australia’s wide range of critical minerals resource projects now had a clear framework and future vision.
He noted that there were a range of supports to boost the development of the sector, and encourage continued innovation and research and development, including the A$1-billion Value Adding in Resources Fund, to work alongside the A$2-billion Critical Minerals Facility, as part of the government’s National Reconstruction Facility.
“Australia’s expertise and appetite to meet local and global demand for downstream processed critical minerals continues to grow. In the right public policy and investment settings, we continue to see genuine transitions embracing innovative solutions to diversify our supply chains, whilst delivering the wide-ranging, long-term benefits that exploration and mining projects deliver to communities,” Pearce said.
“Today’s announcement of the Critical Minerals Strategy, and commitments to research and projects, help to grow our critical minerals industry and expand downstream processing, enabling Australia to realise and retain greater value for our mineral resources.”