PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (Amec) has welcomed the Critical Minerals and High-Tech Metals Strategy launched by New South Wales Deputy Premier Paul Toole.
The strategy details the vision to realise the economic potential of critical minerals investment and delivery through four key actions, including establishing Australia’s first critical minerals hub in the Central West, promoting exploration for critical mineral resources, activating the industry through proactive development of supply chains, and attracting investment for critical mineral resources, downstream processing and recycling.
The strategy includes further geological surveys to deliver more quality pre-competitive data for explorers, investigating the potential for copper production and other downstream processing opportunities for critical minerals, and providing assistance to mining projects to navigate planning and approval processes.
Toole said critical minerals and high-tech metals, such as cobalt, nickel and copper, will play a vital role in making New South Wales the number one investment destination for mining and advanced manufacturing.
“Critical minerals are just that – minerals that are critical to the manufacture of everything from electric vehicles to solar technologies and for which there are no ready substitutes,” Toole said.
“This strategy delivers a clear vision to provide a key source of economic growth, diversify the New South Wales royalty base and create the advanced manufacturing jobs of the future in regional New South Wales.
“There is a global race on to locate, develop and establish secure supply chains of these minerals and metals. This strategy will ensure New South Wales is in the box-seat to meet this demand."
Toole on Monday announced the establishment of Australia’s first critical minerals hub, near Dubbo, saying it would set New South Wales apart as a premier destination for investment in antimony, cobalt, copper, titanium, rare earths and zirconium projects as demand for critical minerals increases exponentially in the next 40 years.
“The hub in the Central West will be a focal point for the development of this industry, including value-added processing, and located close to existing, approved and potential mining developments,” Toole said.
“The hub could accommodate domestic e-waste recycling for eastern Australia, as well as the importation of e-waste from the Indo-Pacific region, so we can recover and recycle critical minerals alongside the exploration and mining of new resources.
“It will build on existing investments at the Parkes Special Activation Precinct as well as the A$3-billion investment in Australia’s first Renewable Energy Zone, which is centred around the Dubbo, Wellington and Mudgee regions.
“This demonstrates the commitment by the New South Wales government to support mining and advanced manufacturing as we diversify the state’s economy towards a lower carbon future.”
Amec CEO Warren Pearce on Monday welcomed the strategy, noting that critical and high-tech minerals were the minerals of the future.
“These are the minerals that will be needed to manufacture batteries, power electric vehicles, and construct wind turbines and solar panels that will support a low carbon future.
“The Critical Minerals Hub will be the first of its kind in Australia, demonstrating the New South Wales government’s commitment to ensuring the state becomes a major player in the fast-growing critical minerals industry.
“Establishing Australia’s first Critical Minerals Hub in the Central West will provide not only a strong signal to the market but also the important infrastructure support to make this a reality.”
Pearce said that the demand for critical minerals would only grow stronger as Australia and the world worked to decarbonise and develop new renewable and clean energy technologies to deliver on these commitments.
“The Critical Minerals and High-Tech Metals Strategy will support New South Wales in a new era for the industry. New South Wales was the site of the first gold discovery in Australia and is well-positioned to lead a new critical age for the minerals sector,” said Pearce.