The Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) has flagged strong demand for critical minerals following indications that the United States plans to develop renewable energy facilities and extensive electric vehicle (EV) supply.
Austrade stated that there was “huge geological potential” for critical minerals in Australia.
It added that environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks might impact critical minerals supply globally, causing suppliers to look to Australia to source the commodities.
“This increased demand is putting intense pressure on current critical mineral supply chains, which are highly concentrated and often associated with ESG risks,” Austrade stated.
“In the (United States), the Biden Administration has signalled that it intends to develop renewable energy facilities, smart grids and a powerful electric vehicle industry.
“It has already signed an Executive Order to procure a zero-emission government vehicle fleet – around 645,000 vehicles. This will drive demand for more battery minerals such as cobalt, lithium and manganese.”
According to Geoscience Australia, the country’s tantalum reserves are ranked highest in the world, however production for the critical mineral is ranked seventh globally.
Australia also has the second highest cobalt, lithium and tungsten reserves in the world, and remains the top producer for lithium and zirconium.
Last year, the Australian Government’s Australian Critical Minerals Prospectus 2020 identified 100 investment-ready projects in Australia for critical minerals.
Australia is the second largest producer of rare earths globally.