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AusIMM supports broadening Australia’s Critical Minerals List

· 300 words, 1 min read

AusIMM has called on the Australian government to broaden the nation’s critical minerals list to bring it into closer alignment with the EU and USA and to include aluminium, copper, nickel and zinc.

A copy of AusIMM’s submission is available here.

CEO Stephen Durkin said an update and review of the list was welcome but action was key.

“We are at a moment in time when Australia can seize an economic opportunity that could deliver national prosperity and a global good for decades to come. A list is helpful, but action is key. We need co-ordination and a bias for action between Federal and State governments,” he said.

“The EU, USA and Canada have in very large part incorporated these metals in their lists - and so should Australia. The list should not only be about Australia’s geological endowment but the wonderful opportunities it has in downstream manufacturing through its existing aluminium, copper, nickel, zinc refineries and smelters.”

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), by 2030 global clean energy technology and infrastructure demand for critical minerals such as copper, lithium, cobalt, nickel and neodymium will be between 3 and 14 times higher than in 2021. Yet across a range of IEA scenarios, the world still faces critical minerals shortfalls to stay on track by 2030 to achieve Net Zero Emissions by 2050.

Governments around the world are responding with critical mineral strategies such as Australia, USA, UK, Canada and have developed a range of critical mineral, strategic metals and raw materials lists such as in the European Union, USA, UK.

AusIMM recommends the Australian Critical Minerals List include:

  • bauxite, alumina, aluminium - to build on Australia’s manufacturing potential and deliver aluminium used in batteries, solar panels, wind turbines, transmissions lines
  • copper, manganese, nickel, zinc - to drive production of batteries to be a renewable energy superpower
  • potash and phosphates - to secure national food production and supply.

In its February submission (available here) to the Australian government on a review of nation’s critical mineral strategy, AusIMM recommended

  • Alignment and collaboration between State and Federal Governments to deliver a truly national plan
  • Increased support for targeted skills and education programs and R&D initiatives
  • An emphasis on the important role of professional standards in strengthening Australia’s role as a sustainable and ethical producer of critical minerals and supporting ESG, responsible mining and circular economy initiatives.

Economic modelling for the government shows by 2040 the sector could deliver up to 329,000 new jobs and $170.8 billion to Australia’s GDP through a combination of value adding initiatives and accelerated project approvals and development.

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