Ai Group Outlines Plan to Boost Australia’s Critical Minerals

The national employer association Ai Group has today released its submission to the Federal Government’s process considering the development of a new Critical Minerals Strategy for 2023.

“As the critical minerals mining sector quickly matures, it is imperative for government policy to pivot towards supporting the next phase of industry development. This involves seizing sequential opportunities that emerge further along the value chain. With mining capabilities now in place, critical minerals processing is the next opportunity that Australia should target,” Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said today.

“Critical minerals are essential for the clean energy revolution, and the technologies which will define the 21st century. Further developing Australia’s critical minerals industries will benefit our economic, strategic, technology and climate interests.

“Australia has extensive geologic endowments of critical minerals, and is already the world’s leading supplier of lithium. But with most value generated further along the value chain, it makes good economic sense that we build value-adding on top of our world class mining sector.

“Minister Husic has outlined a vision that “if we mine it here, we should make it here”. The best way to achieve this vision is to take a staged approach in developing our capabilities along the critical minerals value chain.

“The next stage for Australia is mid-stream processing: converting our critical minerals into much higher-value chemical precursors. These capabilities leverage off our resource wealth, and are sought-after by strategic partners including Japan, the US, the UK and EU.

“Australia should rightly harbour long-term ambitions to manufacture end-use technologies, such as batteries and renewable energy equipment. But without building our processing industries first, we will have a ‘mid-stream gap’ that blocks development in downstream manufacturing.

“We must not forget the importance of end-of-life critical minerals industries either.

“In coming years, clean energy sectors will generate large quantities of waste, which will need to be recycled back into the value chain. Australia is competitively placed to lead the world in critical minerals recycling.

“A long-term national strategy, which steps out our capabilities in sequential order, will ensure Australia becomes the critical minerals superpower driving the clean energy revolution,” Mr Willox said.

Read the Australian Industry Group’s submission to the Government on the Critical Minerals Strategy 2023

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