Govt opens critical minerals office

THE Australian government has formally opened its new Critical Minerals Facilitation office.
Govt opens critical minerals office Govt opens critical minerals office Govt opens critical minerals office Govt opens critical minerals office Govt opens critical minerals office

Staff reporter

The office will work with all levels of government, industry and the science and research sector to develop Australia's critical mineral resources, maximise opportunities and develop downstream industries. 

It will be led by former senior Treasury official Jessica Robinson, who is experienced in developing critical minerals and foreign investment policy.

Robinson will hold a series of stakeholder roundtable meetings around the country early in the year to promote and explain the role of the Office and inform priority actions.

"I want to join all the different parts of the sector together, from research and development in universities, to pilot and full-scale projects on the ground, to promoting business opportunities in supply chains both here in Australia and overseas," she said.

"I see working collaboratively as essential to growing the critical minerals sector efficiently and quickly."

Resources and Northern Australia minister Matt Canavan said Australia's abundant resources of critical minerals were a crucial component of modern high-technology and clean-energy industries.

"We have the potential to become an international powerhouse in the supply of critical minerals with increasing demand from rising use of electric cars, renewable energy and smart phones," he said.

"Australia has abundant reserves of critical minerals and rare earths and the government is committed to developing world-leading projects which improve diversity of supply in the global markets."

The office was first announced in November, ahead of crucial talks where Australia and the US formalised a partnership on developing critical minerals supply chains

A detailed plan to support joint action will be further developed when senior officials meet in Washington in late February and will complement a range of actions Australia is pursuing with key international partners, including Japan, India and Europe.

Critical minerals projects will be eligible to apply for financial support through Export Finance Australia, the Defence Export Facility and the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF).

The office will work closely with these funding facilities and the Clean Energy Financing Cooperation to help projects access finance.

Australia is one of the top five producers of critical minerals such as antimony, manganese, ilmenite and rutile and is the second-largest producer of rare earths, with 13% of global production.