Australia's traditional resources industries have long been a vital part of the Australian economy, perhaps never more so than in the past two decades. In 2018-19 resource and energy commodity exports are expected to earn more than $264 billion, representing more than two thirds of our goods exports.1 These export earnings contribute to the royalties and the corporate and income taxes that help to pay for essential services including hospitals, schools, infrastructure, defence and border security.
Global demand for our resources has broadened in recent years to include minerals used in a range of emerging high-tech applications across a variety of sectors such as renewable energy, aerospace, defence, automotive (particularly electric vehicles), telecommunications and agri-tech. Known as critical minerals, this group of minerals is considered essential for the economic and industrial development of major and emerging economies.
This presents an opportunity for Australia to develop its commercially viable and world leading reserves of many of these critical minerals, attract investment from new markets, diversify our resources industry and capitalise on the strengths of our world leading resources sector.
However, the scarcity of critical minerals leaves them potentially vulnerable to supply constraints and shortages. Many countries with specific economic and industrial development requirements are starting to take a more strategic approach to ensure security of supply of these minerals. These approaches include efforts to diversify supply and to source from countries with the geological capability to satisfy critical minerals demand.
Australia's Critical Minerals Strategy 2019 outlines the Liberal-National Government's policy framework for our critical minerals market. Our goal is to create the conditions needed to grow this emerging sector by supporting innovation, attracting new investment and promoting marketing opportunities, while delivering the infrastructure needed to bring new critical minerals projects into production.
Senator the Hon Matthew Canavan
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia
Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment
1 Office of the Chief Economist (2018) Resources and Energy Quarterly - December 2018. Australian Government, Canberra, p.iv and p.7.