Supercharging Australian critical minerals manufacturing

The Australian government, under the reign of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, has delegated $1.3bn in funding for the critical minerals manufacturing sector, under the Modern Manufacturing Initiative.

Australia’s critical minerals manufacturing sector and the job-creating industries that rely on it are being supercharged under the Morrison Government’s $1.3bn Modern Manufacturing Initiative.

The Government has today announced over $243m funding in support of four projects under the Collaboration Stream of the Modern Manufacturing Initiative. These projects are set to produce over 3,400 jobs over time and cement Australia’s place in the rapidly growing critical minerals, electric vehicle, and battery markets.

The delegation of funding is set to include projects such as:

  • $119.6m for Pure Battery Technologies’ $399m Western Australian pCAM Hub, in partnership with Poseidon Nickel, will build an integrated nickel manganese cobalt battery material refinery hub in the Kalgoorlie region. The site will become home to a growing workforce with 380 construction jobs and 175 initial permanent jobs from 2023;
  • $49m for a $367m project led by Australian Vanadium, to process high-grade vanadium from its Meekatharra mine in WA and transported to its Tenindewa plant powered by clean hydrogen from partner ATCO Australia. This highly sought-after critical mineral will then be transformed into energy-storing batteries to fuel the growing domestic and overseas market, with more than 740 jobs to be supported;
  • $30m for Arafura Resources’ flagship Nolans Project near Aileron, in Central Australia. This will be the first rare earth separation plant in Australia; the second outside China. The $90.8m project, located in the Northern Territory, will leverage Australia’s mineral processing expertise to develop rare earth separation technology not currently available, creating 650 jobs at the peak of construction and new high-value export opportunities; and
  • $45m for Alpha HPA’s $330m project with Orica to construct a high purity alumina production facility near Gladstone that will help meet the rapidly expanding demand for lithium-ion batteries and LED lights, with more than 300 jobs to be created from this year.

Australian critical minerals manufacturing

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the projects were key to securing manufacturing in Australia and the thousands of jobs that come with those industries. “Projects like these make for a stronger economy and a stronger future for Australia,” the Prime Minister explained.

“These projects are about manufacturing the products and materials Australians need and the world needs, by making them right here at home.

“We are helping grow the local critical minerals processing and clean energy industries and locking in the future of those industries by backing manufacturing projects in Australia.

“The $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative is a key part of my Government’s plan for a stronger economy and a stronger future for our country.”

Capturing the global supply chain

Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, said these projects would help us capture even more parts of the global supply chain, while at the same time helping us power our lives here at home.

“The things we use every day like our smartphones, computers, and rechargeable batteries need to be made with critical minerals. They are also needed to make solar panels, electric cars, defence technology and many other high-tech applications,” Minister Taylor concluded.

“Australia is lucky to have some of the largest reserves of the critical minerals and metals which drive the modern global economy. But China currently dominates around 70% to 80% of global critical minerals production and continues to consolidate its hold over these supply chains. This initiative is designed to address that dominance.

“These projects are not only game-changers for the local region with the creation of new jobs, they will also open up incredible export opportunities.”

Australia is a global leader in resources technology and can build greater capacity in critical minerals processing by leveraging our vast natural resources, huge investments in R&D and proximity to the growing global market.

Under our Modern Manufacturing Strategy, Australia’s regional manufacturers are playing an important role in seizing this opportunity.

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