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The New South Wales Government has released the state’s first Critical Minerals and High-Tech Metals Strategy, as part of a drive to be a global leader in the field.

A key part of the strategy includes the establishment of Australia’s first Critical Minerals Hub in the state’s Central West.

Deputy Premier Paul Toole said the hub would set NSW apart as a premier destination for investment in antimony, cobalt, copper, titanium, rare earths and zirconium projects as demand for critical minerals increases exponentially over the next 40 years.

“The hub in the Central West will be a focal point for the development of this industry, including value-added processing, located close to existing, approved and potential mining developments,” Toole said.

“The hub could accommodate domestic e-waste recycling for eastern Australia, as well as the importation of e-waste from the Indo-Pacific region, so we can recover and recycle critical minerals alongside the exploration and mining of new resources.

“It will build on existing investments at the Parkes Special Activation Precinct as well as the $3 billion investment in Australia’s first Renewable Energy Zone, which is centred around the Dubbo, Wellington and Mudgee regions.

“This demonstrates the commitment by the NSW Government to support mining and advanced manufacturing as we diversify the state’s economy towards a lower carbon future.”

The strategy includes further geological surveys to deliver more quality pre-competitive data for explorers, investigating the potential for copper production and other downstream processing opportunities for critical minerals, and providing assistance to mining projects to navigate planning and approval processes.

Toole said critical minerals and high-tech metals such as cobalt, nickel and copper will play a vital role in making NSW the number one investment destination for mining and advanced manufacturing.

“Critical minerals are just that – minerals that are critical to the manufacture of everything from electric vehicles to solar technologies and for which there are no ready substitutes,” Toole said.

“This strategy delivers a clear vision to provide a key source of economic growth, diversify the NSW royalty base and create the advanced manufacturing jobs of the future in regional NSW.

“There is a global race on to locate, develop and establish secure supply chains of these minerals and metals. This strategy will ensure NSW is in the box-seat to meet this demand.”