Critical Minerals: Australia Ramps Up Efforts to Build International Partnerships

by | 14. Feb 2024 - 11:51 | Politics

Government opens applications for $25.8 million grant, supporting projects across the entire value chain.

Australia seeks to establish a more significant foothold in the international critical minerals supply chains. To support collaborations, the government has now unveiled a $25.8 million program (AUS$40 million) with applications open for projects across the value chain of critical minerals, from pilot and demonstration plants to the commercialization of technology and building downstream processing capability, according to a statement by resource minister Madeleine King.

King added that the grant is part of the last year unveiled Critical Minerals Strategy, under which the country plans to become a significant producer of raw materials and processed critical minerals while boosting its economy. Building and deepening international partnerships is a central element of this strategy. High-tech industries such as Japan’s or South Korea’s rely heavily on foreign sources of critical minerals. They are already Australia’s second and third-largest export markets for resources and energy. During a recent trip to the two Asian countries, Minister King discussed investment opportunities in the Australian raw material sector with Japanese and South Korean officials, which could yield mutually beneficial results.

Advancing International Critical Mineral Supply Chains From Home

The focus under the Critical Minerals Strategy is not only abroad, however. The domestic sector is also advanced through government investments of almost $3 billion combined into infrastructure, mining projects, and processing facilities. The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization ANSTO has received $9 million (AUS13.9 million) for its minerals unit to accelerate the discovery, extracting, and processing of rare earth elements from clay-hosted and ionic adsorption rare earth deposits. These deposits are currently only mined in Southern China and neighboring Myanmar, with infant efforts in Brazil.

Photo: iStock/Oleksii Liskonih

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