14 December 2022

Unlocking Australian critical minerals potential

The Australian Critical Minerals Prospectus outlines Australia’s unique competitive position in this globally vital sector and highlights investment-ready projects that spell huge opportunities for international partners.

“The Prospectus showcases critical minerals opportunities for international investors, bringing together global collaboration and expertise to realise the potential in these projects,” says Minister for Trade and Tourism Don Farrell, who launched the Prospectus at an event today in Sydney.

The 2022 Prospectus comes at a time when volatile critical minerals prices and highly concentrated supply chains are creating challenges for industry end users. To manage these risks – and develop new opportunities – there is an increasing need to secure new sources of supply through upstream investments.

“Australia is an increasingly important partner in diversifying critical minerals supply chains globally,” says Minister Farrell, adding that Australia’s critical minerals are in high demand and are essential to reach net zero goals and support the world’s clean energy transition. “[They] are needed to power our ambitions for a more sustainable future.”

The Prospectus features 55 projects across 26 different critical minerals, including high-purity alumina and silicon, two minerals recently added to the Australian Government’s Critical Minerals List.

Rocks containing critical minerals travel along a conveyor belt

Australia is ranked in the top five for world economic resources, including lithium, cobalt, tungsten, manganese and vanadium. It supplies 55 per cent of the world’s lithium – vital for battery production for electric vehicles, mobile phones and other digital devices.

“Australia is the world’s leading producer of lithium and titanium, and yet 80 per cent of the country is considered underexplored, meaning that opportunity for further mineral discovery is high,” says Minister for Resources Madeleine King.

“The Critical Minerals Prospectus highlights the need to invest at the source of critical minerals, and to sustain exploration into new deposits into the future.”

The Prospectus details a wide range of advantages that place Australia in prime position to lead the exploration, extraction, production and processing of critical minerals. These include Australia’s vast reserves of recoverable critical minerals; its long history as a global leader in the development of resources projects; a highly skilled and talented workforce; an advanced and efficient mining equipment, technology and services (METS) industry; world-leading environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices; and one of the most effective regulatory environments in the world.

Underpinning all these factors is Australia’s dynamic economy – the world’s 12th largest, yet home to only 0.3 per cent of the world’s population.

The Prospectus cites a global survey of mining and exploration companies published this year by Canada’s The Fraser Institute that found Australia was considered the most attractive region in the world for mining investment, based on supportive government policies and mineral potential.

In recognising the crucial role for Australian critical minerals in the energy transition and future industries, the Australian Government announced a number of measures to support the sector in the October Budget. The Critical Minerals Development Program will provide an additional A$50 million in competitive grants over three years to support early to mid-stage critical minerals projects, together with A$50 million for the Critical Minerals Research and Development Hub. The government has also committed A$1 billion to the Value-Adding in Resources Fund to support the development of midstream capability. And the Australian Government is listening to industry and other stakeholders as it develops a refreshed 2023 Critical Minerals Strategy.

The Australian Critical Minerals Prospectus is produced by the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade), working with the Critical Minerals Office, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and TradeExport Finance Australia and Geoscience Australia.

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