Australia in box seat for rare earths

Rare earth elements.

Australia is well positioned to benefit from the rise of critical minerals, according to the federal government’s Outlook for Selected Critical Minerals Australia 2021 report.

Released by the Office of the Chief Economist in the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, the report detailed the prospect for market growth in metals such as lithium, cobalt, graphite, vanadium, and rare earth elements like neodymium, praseodymium and dysprosium.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said Australia must take advantage of its privileged position in the market.

“Australia is blessed with abundant resources and a highly-skilled workforce which is ready to transform these minerals and elements into the kinds of products the world needs,” Pitt said.

The report credited Lynas Rare Earths – an Australian mid-tier mining company – for being the largest non-Chinese supplier of rare earth products.

“Australia’s mined production of rare earths is forecast to grow by 9.1 per cent per annum over the outlook period (2020-2030), largely as a result of investment by Lynas at their Mount Weld operation,” the report stated.

Highly considered by the report was the market conditions surrounding electric vehicles and associated battery storage technology.

The global fleet size of electric vehicles is expected to grow by 30 per cent by 2050, leaving the battery storage market to lag behind.

This has occurred due to heightened investment by auto manufacturers, according to the report.

“Auto manufacturers have invested heavily in the transition from internal combustion engines (ICE) to electric vehicles (EV), and therefore it is in their interests to recoup their investment as quickly as possible,” the report stated.

“Currently, auto manufacturer’s planned capacity increases to 2025 exceed the requirements of announced government policies.”

Pitt said the Australian Government is supporting the development of the necessary minerals for electrification.

“Australia is already the world’s top producer of lithium, and the Government’s Critical Minerals Facilitation Office is supporting the development of other resources, downstream processing, and helping to diversify global supply chains,” Pitt said.

“Australia also has a stable investment environment and stable governance arrangements that make Australia an attractive location for critical minerals investment and development.”


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