The Australian Government is supporting the resources and critical minerals sector with almost $50 million in funding for projects to help grow businesses and create new jobs.
The matched funding from the $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative will support eight companies to scale up local downstream processing of critical minerals, and add value to the battery and clean technology supply chains.
This will include onshore production of battery storage systems and adoption of battery technology across the mining sector.
Lynas Rare Earths received $14.8 million to develop a world-first process to refine rare earth ore – essential for permanent magnet and electric vehicle production.
The new refining process reduces the need for hazardous chemicals and delivers a significantly higher-grade product for export.
The project will be based near Kalgoorlie-Boulder and is expected to create about 400 direct and indirect job opportunities in the Goldfields region.
Australian Vanadium in Western Australia will use its $3.9 million to fast-track manufacturing of large-scale vanadium redox flow battery systems that can be used to support residential power grids.
Elphinstone in Tasmania will receive $5.1 million to develop a range of battery-powered underground mining support vehicles that eliminate the need for diesel use in underground environments.
In the Northern Territory, Core Lithium will use its $6 million to help build a pilot processing facility for the production of battery-grade lithium hydroxide at Darwin Harbour’s Middle Arm Industrial Precinct.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter said Australia was well placed to capitalise on growing global demand for battery systems and the critical minerals associated with their production, with the energy storage market expected to be worth almost $US20 billion ($27 billion) by 2027.
“Australia’s resource sector is world-class. Through our $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative, we are helping to unlock this enormous potential by providing targeted support for projects that will deliver big rewards for our local economy in terms of export earnings and new job opportunities,” Porter said.
“It is also critical that we build our sovereign capability in this sector, with China currently the world leader in critical minerals processing including battery production.”
“Whether it’s building large-scale battery systems, adding value to critical minerals exports through new refining techniques, or driving the adoption of battery power in mining vehicles, these projects will increase Australia’s international competitiveness and help position us a future leader in this crucial sector.”
The other successful recipients under the Initiative were Batt Mobile Equipment ($4.5 million), Albemarle Lithium ($4.9 million), Flip Screen Australia ($10 million) and Brisbane METS Lab No.1 ($1.2 million).