04/03/2021 - 12:00

PM outlines resources growth plan

04/03/2021 - 12:00


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The federal government has released details of a 10-year plan aimed at boosting Australia's resources technology and critical minerals sectors.

PM outlines resources growth plan
The federal government's 10-year plan involves both industry collaboration and investments. Photo: Shane McLendon

The federal government has released details of a 10-year plan aimed at boosting Australia's resources technology and critical minerals sectors.

It forms part of the $1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy (MMS), announced in October last year.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison this morning unveiled the Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Processing roadmap, which will involve collaboration with industry players and strategic investments, among other measures, to boost Australia's manufacturing capabilities and resources expertise.

Industry, Science and Technology Minister Karen Andrews said the plan would support businesses turning critical minerals into renewable energy technologies such as batteries and solar panels, as well as mining equipment.

She said the roadmap would build on Australia’s competitive advantage and secure greater investment and market share.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, Keith Pitt, said the government was focused on developing the critical minerals sector.

Australia is the largest lithium producer in the world, supplying more than half of the global supply. It is also a top five producer of cobalt, manganese ore, rare earths, zirconium and titanium mineral sands.

“Developing our critical minerals processing capability will ensure Australian companies can move down the value chain, getting greater value out of the products they produce,” Mr Pitt said.

“Our focus on resource technology will also support the development of new ideas to improve mine productivity, process efficiency and safety.”

Climate Council welcomed the roadmap, but said more initiatives were needed to help manufacturers be both competitive and low-carbon.

"Governments must increase the supply of affordable renewable energy to power new minerals processing operations," spokesperson Nicki Hutley said.

"Ultimately, this roadmap is a promising step towards a self-reliant minerals manufacturing sector, the development of technologies that tackle climate change, and a prime position in the global minerals market.

"But the government's support for a gas-led recovery instead of a plan to power Australia with clean, affordable renewable technology is a roadblock to its success."

Meanwhile, applications have opened under the federal government's $1.3 billion manufacturing initiative (as part of the broader MMS) to support projects across six priority areas including resources tech and critical minerals.

The other areas are food and beverage, medical products, recycling and clean energy, defence, and space. Roadmaps for these will be released in the coming weeks.

Mr Morrison said the MMS would support jobs across the country, particularly in resources rich regions such as Western Australia, Central Queensland, and the Hunter Valley in NSW.

He said manufacturing would play a key role in Australia’s COVID-19 recovery.

“Yesterday’s national accounts showed the comeback of the Australian economy is well underway and manufacturing businesses and jobs will be central to our National Economic Recovery Plan as we build back from the COVID-19 recession,” Mr Morrison said.

“Our Modern Manufacturing Initiative will help position Australia as not just a global leader in the resources sector but also in the manufacturing of the technology used, as well as turning the raw materials into value-added products.

“Today’s funding will help unlock investment from industry to help build manufacturing capability and competitiveness in Australia’s resources sector while taking advantage of a significant global growth sector.”


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