A new report released last week by the Federal Government highlights the potential for Australia to become a major exporter of critical minerals products to meet growing industrial and technology needs.

The Critical Minerals Supply Chain in the United States report reinforced the need for Australia to continue to attract investment in high-value activities such as processing and manufacturing.

“We have some of the world’s richest stocks of critical minerals,” Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said.

“The challenge now is continuing to develop the downstream and high-value activities right here in Australia so products can be produced in our own backyard and then exported to the rest of the world.”

The report shows significant export opportunities for Australian critical minerals producers in markets such as the US where there are clear gaps in the supply chain.

“This presents huge opportunities for Australia to not only export raw critical minerals, but process critical minerals and manufacture products such as alloys, metals and petrochemicals,” Mr Birmingham said.

“With critical minerals driving much of the innovation and technological development in industries such as defence, space, energy and advanced manufacturing, there are huge job creation and economic opportunities right here in Australia.

“In order for Australia to fully take advantage of the growing demand for critical minerals we need to continue to attract domestic and overseas investment that develops stable and sustainable global supply chains.”

Australia is the world’s second-largest producer of rare-earth elements and has the world’s sixth-largest resources base. We also possess some of the world’s largest recoverable reserves of cobalt, lithium, manganese, tantalum, tungsten and zirconium.

The Critical Minerals Strategy identifies steps to ensure Australia is ready to be a reliable and cost-competitive supplier of critical minerals for the international market.

The Critical Minerals Supply Chain in the United States report is available here.

AMMA welcomes spotlight on critical minerals

Australian Resources and Energy Group AMMA was pleased that developing Australia’s critical minerals sector was a government priority.

“The Federal Government is doing a great job in recognising the significant national opportunities that lay ahead from critical minerals, including lithium, rare earths, copper and cobalt,” AMMA Head of Policy and Public Affairs Tom Reid said.

“A great deal of the technology innovation around the world is heavily reliant on these minerals – everything from the latest smart phones to electric vehicles, defence products, solar panels and energy storage.

“AMMA’s forecasting estimates that by 2024, about 6,000 jobs nationally will come from new critical minerals projects. This represents 30% of all estimated new mining production jobs, showing how important it is for Australia to nurture these developing resource sectors.

“We have a unique opportunity to supply one of our largest trading partners, the United States, with a significant slice of its fast-growing demand for critical minerals. The timing has lined up perfectly. Such an opportunity warrants fast-tracking to ensure the job-creating opportunities are not missed.”

Mr Reid said AMMA was confident the government is prioritising investment in these developing mineral sectors.

“This was a common theme throughout the Resources 2030 Taskforce, and the release of the Critical Minerals Strategy in March further shows how serious the government is in seizing this opportunity,” Mr Reid said.

“AMMA encourages the government to continue its pursuit of unlocking investment opportunities in Australia’s burgeoning critical minerals sector. Success in doing so will undoubtedly bring significant new jobs and economic opportunities.”