This Critical Minerals Strategy is the Australian Government’s plan to grow our critical minerals industry. The Strategy is intended to be an enduring framework which will guide the Government’s future policy decisions to maximise the national benefits of Australia’s internationally significant critical minerals endowments.
The imperatives for this Strategy are threefold:
- Australian critical minerals are fundamental to the global transition to net zero emissions.
- The development of our critical minerals industry will create jobs and national wealth.
- Australian critical minerals domestic supply chains are vital to our strategic interests.
With our rich geological endowment and track record as a reliable exporter of energy and resources, Australia can play a pivotal role in delivering the processed minerals the world needs for a clean energy future.
We are the world’s largest producer of lithium, the third largest producer of cobalt and fourth largest producer of rare earths. Like the gold, iron ore and gas industries did before it, the critical minerals sector can deliver significant benefits to Australia. We also produce significant amounts of energy transition metals such as aluminium, nickel and copper – which in combination with our critical minerals are essential inputs into the technologies that will drive the energy transformation.
While our potential is great, so too are the challenges. And global competition is fierce.
The international investment landscape is shifting rapidly as governments around the world race to incentivise investment in diversifying and expanding critical minerals supply chains. Recent announcements from the US and EU aim to drive historic investments in clean energy supply chains, turbocharge its decarbonisation efforts and transform the environment for businesses globally.
Australia’s geology alone demands that we play in a key role in the energy transition. In response to policy commitments to meet net zero by 2050, private and public investment is beginning to flow on a massive scale. Bringing online sufficient new supply of minerals, in time to meet demand, is a significant challenge.
Our trade and investment partners are increasingly looking to Australia to provide critical minerals, including rare earth elements, that will feed diversified global supply chains in the energy transition. The Australian Government is working with industry and communities to enable this. We are also working with international partners to help projects link to emerging markets in countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Korea, India, the UK, the European Union and its member states (see Appendix A).
And while our natural minerals endowment provides a foot in the door, there is more to do to capitalise on this unique opportunity. We must look to grow our downstream capabilities in areas of competitive advantage by enabling more processing and refining of minerals onshore in Australia, and realise the benefits derived from value-adding to our resources.
This Critical Minerals Strategy sets out a vision and a pathway for Australia. It highlights 6 focus areas to help deliver diverse, resilient and sustainable supply chains, meet our net zero ambitions, maximise the economic opportunity presented by our minerals endowment, and maintain and grow our sovereign capability.
If we get this right, this emerging industry can make positive contributions to the lives of communities across the country and boost economic development in our regions, particularly Northern Australia.
I would like to recognise the significant contribution from all that helped develop this Strategy. I particularly recognise the important contributions from our First Nations representatives who provided valuable views in the consultation process.
I look forward to continuing to work closely with industry and communities in realising our critical minerals ambitions.