The Australian government has announced a package of measures, including a $200 million Accelerator grants program, $50 million to support research and development, and an updated industry strategy as part of its 2022-23 budget to help unlock the minerals industry’s significant potential.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia’s resources companies were leading the world in developing new critical minerals markets.
“The world is becoming a more uncertain place and we want to secure Australia as a reliable partner for local and global businesses that need the critical minerals we have right here,” he said, adding “We’ll dig them up right here. We’ll refine them right here. We’ll look to make the products that use them right here.
As the global economy changes, there are exciting new growth opportunities emerging in areas such as rare earths and critical minerals that ultimately mean we can deliver a stronger economy for Australia and secure a stronger future, he said.
“Critical minerals are used in more and more essential products. That means there are huge opportunities to backing the Australian critical minerals with programs like these, to be a partner whose products are high quality and consistent. A partner people can trust to deliver.”
Minister for Resources and Water Keith Pitt said the Accelerator initiative will provide grants to strategically significant critical minerals projects at the early to mid-stage to fast-track them to market.
“By backing these important projects, we are also driving private sector investment to enhance Australia’s strong international reputation as a reliable supplier of the resources the world needs,” Pitt said.
He said the 2022 Critical Minerals Strategy, launched today, sets out to grow our critical minerals sector, expand downstream processing and help meet future global demand.
“The Strategy will cement Australia’s position as a leading producer of critical minerals while contributing to our national security and economic prosperity,” he said, adding that a strong economy means a strong future for Australia, and resources are a significant contributor to that.
“Our resources and energy exports hit a record high value of $348.9 billion, and are projected to hit $379 billion in 2021-22,” Pitt added.
Australia is blessed with extraordinary reserves of the critical minerals needed by sectors including defence, aerospace, automotive, energy, telecommunications, and agritech. It produces around half the world’s lithium and is the second-largest producer of cobalt and the fourth-largest producer of rare earths.