The Federal Government is looking to set Australia up as a world leading supplier of critical minerals with an additional $2 billion of investment, a boost that will also support the economy with more jobs and benefit the nation’s energy transition.
Critical minerals, including rare earths, are the building blocks for a clean energy future, and are essential to achieving Australia’s energy transition. This significant commitment is expected to double the capacity of the Critical Minerals Facility to finance Australian critical minerals mining and processing projects.
This expansion of the Critical Minerals Facility takes the government’s value-adding investments in Australian resources to $6 billion. Investing in critical minerals financing will bolster the sector in Australia, resulting in technology, skills, jobs and economic benefits for Australians.
Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, and Federal Minister for Resources, Madeleine King, announced the $2 billion expansion, surrounded by Australian and US industry leaders, after the inaugural meeting of the Australia-United States Taskforce on Critical Minerals.
The Taskforce is an important component in building Australia’s Alliance with the US for the future and delivers on commitments made by US President, Joe Biden, and Prime Minister Albanese at Hiroshima earlier in 2023.
A sustainable and reliable supply of critical minerals is vital to supporting the Australian and US manufacturing sectors. Australia is ideally positioned to provide responsibly-produced and processed critical minerals to fulfil this demand.
Working with international partners is essential for Australia to deliver on emissions reduction targets, decarbonise the economy and build clean energy industries.
Cooperation with the US 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 US.
The expanded Critical Minerals Facility supports the Federal Government’s Critical Minerals Strategy 2023-2030.
Mr Albanese said that the government is committed to transforming Australia into a renewable energy superpower, and harnessing the critical minerals it has available is crucial to achieving this.
“Australians will benefit through this investment in critical minerals, through technology, skills, jobs and economic gains,” Mr Albanese said.
“Australia is committed to building sustainable and secure critical minerals supply chains with the United States. This is central to building a clean energy future and delivering economic growth.
“The expansion of the Critical Minerals Facility will help to build supply chains with the United States and support our shared clean energy, manufacturing and defence ambitions.”
Ms King said that the Australia-United States Taskforce on Critical Minerals will be a key part of progressing work under the Compact.
“This week we agreed on priority areas of work and immediate actions such as joint supply chain mapping and deeper cooperation between our science agencies on critical minerals,” Ms King said.
“The road to net zero runs through Australia’s resources sector.
“The Australian Government is providing significant support to de-risk investment in Australia’s critical minerals sector. The Critical Minerals Facility is a cornerstone of that support, providing finance to strategically significant projects which can crowd in private investment.
“Coupled with our support for processing, we are well positioned to be a world leading provider of critical minerals, including rare earths elements, and to support global efforts on clean energy transformation.”