The federal government wants more of Australia’s critical minerals like lithium to stay on these shores for battery manufacture, rather than being sent overseas, and has devoted another $2 billion to the cause.
Prime minister Anthony Albanese’s announcement said the decision was taken following the first Australia-United States Taskforce on Critical Minerals meeting during his US visit.
The funding doubles the amount of money available for miners and processors of minerals like cobalt, lithium, manganese and rare earths; the government said it takes the total government investment in value-adding to Australian resources to $6 billion.
As we noted in April, Australia accounted for 53 percent of world lithium production last year, worth more than $5 billion to the economy.
The funding “will solidify Australia’s position as a world leading provider, help the transition to net zero, boost the economy and support more jobs and opportunities for Australians”, Albanese’s press release said.
“Cooperation with the United States on critical minerals is central to the Climate, Critical Minerals and Clean Energy Transformation Compact. The Compact affirms the position of climate and clean energy as the third pillar of Australia’s alliance with the United States.”
As the ABC noted, the move would help reduce reliance on China’s supplies of critical minerals.
That was highlighted by US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, who said China’s dominance could cause the US “a great deal of pain, very quickly”, the ABC story said.
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“And so we have a job to make sure that doesn’t happen, by drawing closer to one another and becoming less vulnerable.”
The ABC quoted the prime minister as saying:
“We want to move Australia up the international value chain in critical minerals, energy and manufacturing.”