Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: The Australian government has launched a 10-year plan to expand its critical minerals processing and manufacturing capacity.
The global push toward renewable and sustainable energy has significantly increased demand for technologies such as batteries, solar cells, magnets, alloys, fuel cells and wind turbines. These technologies require rare-earth and critical minerals for processing and manufacturing; therefore, demand for rare-earth and critical minerals is projected to experience exponential growth in the coming decades.
Australia is the largest lithium producer in the world and a top-five producer of elements such as cobalt, manganese ore, antimony, zirconium and titanium mineral sands—many of the resources needed for these renewable and sustainable technologies—yet once mined, these minerals are often exported for processing and manufacturing, then re-imported into Australia as finished products. The Australian government and industry experts have identified that Australia is not capturing the full potential of the value chain and have initiated a push toward resource technology, downstream critical minerals processing and manufacturing of new technologies, with a goal of positioning Australia as a world leader in exploration, extraction, production and processing of critical minerals through downstream processing and manufacturing.
This will benefit other countries that also have high demand for renewable technology by diversifying the global supply chain to become less dependent on the limited number of countries that currently process and manufacture critical minerals, and will also position Australia to expand its capabilities and capture more value in the value chain.
To make this shift, the Australian government has launched a $1.3 billion AUD ($1 billion USD) 10-year plan to expand its resources technology, critical minerals processing and manufacturing capacity. The budget breakdown and action items can be found in Australia’s Critical Minerals Strategy.
Since the initiative was announced in October 2020, small and midsize Australian companies and relevant entities have begun seeking and exploring opportunities with international investors and partners. For details about the 10-year plan and phases where Wisconsin exporters may find opportunities, visit the National Manufacturing Priority Road Map, which contains a complete overview of the plan, Australia’s manufacturing and technology needs and growth opportunities.
Wisconsin exporters with expertise, products and solutions for exploration, extraction, production and processing of critical minerals as well as resource technologies are encouraged to read through the Australian Critical Minerals Prospectus to understand the current state of the industry in Australia and read government-produced sector profiles on the critical minerals sector and resources and energy.