Australian Resources Minister Urges Investment in Critical Minerals Processing Industry 

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The Australian Resources Minister, Madeleine King, has called on automakers and other consumers of critical minerals to invest in Australia’s materials processing industry, ensuring a secure and ethical supply of crucial resources vital for the global energy transition. 

Australia, one of the world’s largest suppliers of raw minerals, aims to collaborate with investors and international partners to establish a critical minerals processing industry.

The country holds significant reserves of critical minerals such as lithium, rare earths, cobalt, graphite, and manganese, crucial in manufacturing products like electric vehicle batteries, cell phones, and military weaponry. 

Despite the government’s billions of dollars in cornerstone investments, limited interest from commercial lenders in providing financing for processing plants has posed a challenge for minerals developers.

Minister King encourages end-users to invest in bridging the financing gap, capitalizing on Australia’s abundant geological resources and stable investment climate. 

“China does hold that capacity. It can if it chooses to, you know, change the market, if it wants to,” King said.

China dominates critical minerals processing, controlling over 80% of global rare earths production and holding significant investments in mining and processing operations in Australia, Africa, and South America.

While Australia may need help to compete with the capital influx under the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, the government aims to attract investment through other policy opportunities. 

One recent investment is the U.S. lithium giant Albemarle, which agreed to invest around $1.5 billion in expanding its lithium hydroxide processing operations in Western Australia.

Australia’s federal government is also taking steps to reform environmental regulations and streamline permitting processes, addressing industry concerns. Minister King emphasizes that maintaining ethical and sustainable supply standards is a strategic advantage for Australia in the critical minerals market.

The push for increased investment in Australia’s critical minerals processing industry comes amid growing global demand for renewable energy technologies and advancements in electric vehicles. As stakeholders consider the long-term essential stability of mineral supply chains, ethical and sustainable sourcing becomes paramount for the industry’s future.

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