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The Yangibana camp. Image: Hastings Technology Metals.

The Australian Government has released guidelines for new grants, with rare earths developer Hastings Technology Metals already benefitting from the announcement.

Federal Resources Minister Madeleine King said the grants would help to develop Australia’s critical minerals sector, support downstream processing, create jobs across regional Australia and support global efforts to achieve net-zero.

The Government has raised its loan to Hastings Technology Metals by $80 million to account for higher costs and the recent strength of magnet rare earth prices, bringing total support to the company to $220 million.

The Critical Minerals Development Program will provide up to $50 million in grants of between $1 million and $30 million to support projects that will strengthen Australia’s sovereign capabilities in critical minerals, which are crucial for low-emissions technologies such as electric vehicles, batteries and solar panels, as well as aerospace and defence applications.

“The grants program will help Australia become a trusted and stable global supplier of critical minerals and rare earths which are needed to help lower global emissions,” King said.

“The grants will support up to half of eligible expenditure on projects that will strengthen global supply chains and help Australia build capacity to process critical minerals into strategically important technologies such as lithium-ion batteries, rare earth element magnets, semi-conductors, and communications components.

“We expect the grants will support projects that will create jobs and investment in regional Australia, while generating further collaboration with Australia’s international partners.”

Hastings received its initial funding in February 2022 for its Yangibana Rare Earths Project, located in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia, 250km north-east of Carnarvon.

The project was the first in Australia to receive Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) funding.

“The road to net-zero runs through Australia’s resources sector,” King said. “We need Australia’s critical minerals if we are to reach net-zero.”

Applications for the grant are still open and will close on February 20 2023.