The Australian Government will establish a $2 billion loan facility for domestic critical minerals projects to help secure vital supplies of resources needed to drive a new energy economy and support future jobs.
This $2 billion facility will be used to get new projects off the ground for minerals including rare earths, lithium, magnesium and nickel for use in advanced technologies such as renewable energy, aerospace, defence, automotive and electric vehicles, telecommunications and agri-tech.
In announcing the initiative this week, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it would help address financial hurdles to the development of new critical minerals projects.
“The commercial dimensions of the [critical minerals] market means it can be a difficult place to get established … we want to ensure Australian producers [do this so] they can link up with others in our supply chains in a free and open Indo-Pacific,” he said.
“Critical minerals are fundamental to the future energy economy [and] also mean jobs in construction, infrastructure development and ongoing roles for the mining sector.”
Minister for Resources Keith Pitt said the loan facility would ensure Australia remains at the forefront of emerging new minerals opportunities in the global space.
“Australia is already among the world’s top suppliers of some of the most sought-after critical minerals and we know there is enormous potential through our untapped reserves,” he said.
“Initiatives like this [facility] will ensure we are providing the rare earths and other resources which are essential to the supply chains of the new energy economy.”
Critical minerals demand
Global demand for critical minerals is estimated to grow exponentially over the coming decades starting with the lithium industry, which is expected to be worth as much as $400 billion by the end of the decade.
Research shows Australia is well-placed to capitalise on the rising demand, hosting some of the world’s largest recoverable reserves of critical minerals.
The new loan facility follows the introduction of other government programs such as the $225 million Exploring for the Future fund designed to back new resources exploration across the country.