Critical minerals are integral to the development of low-carbon economies and the realisation of net zero goals. Critical minerals are core inputs for lithium-ion batteries, sintered magnets, high performance alloys and semiconductors. These intermediate goods are essential components in electric vehicles, hydrogen electrolysers, smartphones, computers, solar panels, and a range of defence and medical equipment.
The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) World Energy Outlook 2022 notes that demand for critical minerals is set to rise two to fourfold by 2030.1 At the same time, there’s a need to avoid vulnerabilities arising from volatile prices or highly concentrated supply chains. If not adequately addressed, price and supply chain issues could delay energy transitions or make transitions more costly.
Industry end users are increasingly aware of the urgent need to shore up secure and stable supplies of critical minerals. To manage these risks — and develop new opportunities – there is an urgent need to secure new sources of supply through upstream investment. The Australian Critical Minerals Prospectus showcases 55 investment-ready Australian critical minerals projects that have significant potential to address anticipated production shortfalls, build supply chain security, and help deliver progress on a net-zero future.
The Australian Government, following the release of the first Australian Critical Minerals List and inaugural National Strategy in 2019, has supported the development of critical minerals projects through the annual publication of the Critical Minerals Prospectus. This 2022 edition provides a timely update on potential investment opportunities in Australia-based critical minerals projects. Notable changes since the previous edition include:
- an increase in the number of project profiles from 44 to 55;
- coverage of high-purity alumina and silicon projects following their inclusion on the Australian Critical Minerals List; and
- an expanded ‘Unlocking the Midstream’ summary to reflect recent developments.
High-value critical minerals exports can become a new source of economic growth for Australia and, at the same time, spur the develop of new local processing capabilities. Australia has a long history as a global leader in the development of resources projects.
Australia has a skilled workforce, world- leading environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices and a transparent regulatory environment. These advantages put Australia in prime position to lead the exploration, extraction, production and processing of critical minerals.