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Australia has joined Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States in launching the Sustainable Critical Minerals Alliance.

Key industry and community groups have met with Federal Resources Minister Madeleine King to discuss the development of Australia’s critical minerals sector.

Two roundtables were recently held in Perth, with presentations made by key resources companies, First Nations leaders and research groups as part of the consultations on the Federal Government’s Critical Minerals Strategy 2022.

The roundtables discussed how governments can attract investment and support project developments.

“Critical minerals represent the next great leap in mining, and Australia has an opportunity to add even more value to our world-class mining sector by capturing the benefits of the transition to net-zero and by moving into downstream processing,” King said.

“The world will need our resources industry and our critical minerals to decarbonise, just as our domestic energy system will need lithium, vanadium, high purity alumina and platinum-group-element products for our own energy transition.

“Just like the iron ore revolution of the 1960s and growth of the LNG (liquefied natural gas) industry in recent decades, Australia’s prosperity and our jobs of the future will rely on decisions we take now to support the development of our critical minerals industry.

“Without the resources industry there is no net-zero.”

Demand for critical minerals continues to increase as the world moves toward a higher use of electric vehicles (EVs).

The International Energy Agency projects mineral demand for use in EVs and batteries could grow at least 30 times by 2040, with lithium demand potentially growing more than 40 times by 2040, and graphite, cobalt and nickel growing between 20 and 25 times.

The Critical Minerals Strategy is designed to support:

  • growth in Australia’s minerals processing, domestic manufacturing and other industrial sectors
  • emerging opportunities for our regional and First Nations communities
  • Australian critical minerals playing a central role helping the country and international partners achieve their emissions reduction targets
  • Australia’s ongoing commitment to environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards.

Among the roundtable attendees were representatives from the Minerals Council of Australia, Indigenous Women in Mining and Resources, and resources companies including Glencore, Rio Tinto, BHP, Iluka and Lynas.