- Australia is well known for its mineral-rich deposits and is considered a powerhouse of minerals.
- Critical minerals are vital for growth in various sectors, including transport, energy, medical, defense, aerospace, automotive, and telecommunications.
- The rising demand for critical minerals creates a mind-blowing opportunity for Australia.
Critical minerals are minerals that are considered necessary for the development of the world's major and emerging economies. They are considered critical as their supplies may be at risk due to geopolitical issues, geological scarcity, changes in trade policies or any other factor.
Australia is well known for its mineral-rich deposits and is considered a powerhouse of minerals. The country is already topping the list of the leading suppliers of coal, iron ore, gold, copper, bauxite, zinc, lead, manganese and several other commodities. In addition to this, the nation also holds decent potential for significant resources of many of the critical minerals.
Australia, the world's sixth-largest country, is the largest producer of lithium, the second-largest producer of zircon and rare earth elements (REE), and still holds immense undiscovered potential.
Demand for critical minerals
Demand for critical minerals is burgeoning globally. These minerals are considered vital for growth in various sectors, including transport, energy, medical, defense, aerospace, automotive and telecommunications.
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As per the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2021, a 30% per year growth in demand for critical minerals used in wind and solar farms battery storage systems and electric vehicles is anticipated till 2050.
Opportunity for Australia and Critical Mineral Strategy
While many countries require ethically sourced critical minerals, Australia has one of the most efficient regulatory environments along with vast mineral resources, making the nation an ideal critical mineral supplier of the future.
Furthermore, the country also launched its critical mineral strategy in 2019 with a vision to put Australia at the center of meeting the growing demand for critical minerals. The strategy sets out a long-term plan to leverage rising worldwide demand and develop a stable and prosperous critical mineral sector in Australia.
On 16 March 2022, the Australian Federal government has also announced an AU$200-million Accelerator grants program and an AU$50-million R&D centre to be hosted by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
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The R&D Centre will aim to boost Australia’s critical minerals capability and resource pipeline to bring a national perspective to critical minerals research and development.
Critical minerals are vital for the development of the world's major and emerging economies. Australia has a huge deposit of these minerals, and the nation holds the potential to become one of the leading suppliers of critical minerals in the world, amid their rising demand.