Developing critical mineral projects will be given financial support to get off the ground with the announcement of a $2 billion loan facility to support the growing industry.
The Australian Government will establish the facility to help secure the resources needed to drive the new energy economy and support the resources jobs of the future.
According to the Government, the investment in critical minerals will make Australia a world-leader in the mining and downstream processing of in-demand resources, as well as support jobs and communities, particularly in regional Australia.
Resources Minister Keith Pitt said the facility would ensure Australia remains at the forefront of emerging new opportunities in the global resources sector.
“Australia is already among the world’s top suppliers of some of the world’s most sought-after critical minerals and we know there is enormous potential through our untapped reserves,” Pitt said.
“The lithium industry alone, which is essential to develop new battery technology, is forecast to be worth $400 billion globally by 2030 and initiatives like this will mean Australia is well placed to grab its share of the market.
“The new facility comes on top of other initiatives like the Government’s $225 Exploring for the Future Fund to support new resources exploration across the country.”
The facility will be managed by Export Finance Australia and report to Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Dan Tehan.
It will operate on the National Interest Account for 10 years or until finance equivalent to $2 billion has been provided.
Tehan said Australia was well placed to become a reliable supplier of critical minerals to ensure local supply, and support jobs and businesses in Australia.
“The global growth in demand for critical minerals to be used in the production of the latest technologies represents an incredible opportunity for Australia to utilise its natural resources and world-leading mining know how to become a leader in the extraction, processing and supply of critical minerals,” he said.
“Australian critical minerals will help other countries in the Indo-Pacific and beyond to accelerate their industrial reforms and transition to low-carbon technologies and that benefits Australia and our partners.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the fund would effectively help fill finance gaps in critical minerals resources developments to get them off the ground.
“The commercial dimensions of the critical minerals market mean it is a difficult place to get established. We want to ensure that Australia’s resources producers do get established to they can link up with others in our supply chains in a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Morrison said.
“Critical minerals are a strategic area for governments too because they are fundamental to the future energy economy.
“These projects also mean jobs in construction, infrastructure development and ongoing roles for the mining sector.”