The federal government is supporting the resources and critical minerals sector with almost $50 million in funding for eight projects that will help grow Australian businesses and add value to the battery and clean technology supply chains.
The matched funding from the $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative will support the companies in scaling up local downstream processing of critical minerals.
Lynas Rare Earths will use its $14.8 million in funding to develop a world-first process to refine rare earth ore – essential for permanent magnet and electric vehicle production. The new refining process reduces the need for hazardous chemicals and delivers a significantly higher-grade product for export. The project will be based near Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
Australian Vanadium Limited in Western Australia will use its $3.9 million in funding to fast-track manufacturing of large-scale vanadium redox flow battery systems, used to support residential power grids or in off-grid settings such as mining, agriculture and remote communities.
Elphinstone in Tasmania will receive $5.1 million in funding to develop a range of battery-powered underground mining support vehicles that eliminate the need for diesel use in underground environments.
In the Northern Territory, Core Lithium will use its $6 million in funding to help build a pilot processing facility for the production of battery-grade lithium hydroxide at Darwin Harbour’s Middle Arm Industrial Precinct.
Australia is well placed to capitalise on growing global demand for battery systems and the critical minerals associated with their production, with the energy storage market expected to be worth almost $27 billion by 2027.
“Australia’s resource sector is world-class. Through our $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative, we are helping to unlock this enormous potential by providing targeted support for projects that will deliver big rewards for our local economy in terms of export earnings and new job opportunities,” minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter said.
“It is also critical that we build our sovereign capability in this sector, with China currently the world leader in critical minerals processing including battery production.
“Whether it’s building large-scale battery systems, adding value to critical minerals exports through new refining techniques, or driving the adoption of battery power in mining vehicles, these projects will increase Australia’s international competitiveness and help position us a future leader in this crucial sector,” he said.
Other successful resources technology and critical minerals processing recipients under the Initiative are:
- Batt Mobile Equipment, (NSW, Tomago) which will use its $4.5 million in funding to build heavy battery electric vehicles for underground hard rock mines.
- Albemarle Lithium, (WA, Wellesley) which will use its $4.9 million in funding to transform lithium refinery residue for use in the construction sector.
- Flip Screen Australia, (NSW, Wagga Wagga) which will use its $10 million in funding to build a new facility to expand into manufacturing advanced mining equipment.
- Brisbane METS Lab No. 1, (QLD, Coopers Plains) which will use it $1.2 million in funding towards its Vanadium Processing Pilot Plant.
These successful projects follow recent announcements for Medical Products and Space under the Integration and Translation streams of the MMI.
Successful projects under the remaining sectors of Food and Beverage, Recycling and Clean Energy, and Defence will be announced shortly.
Given the strength of applications in this initial round, funding has increased from $140 million to $200 million.
The $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative is the centrepiece of the government’s $1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy, designed to position Australia as a globally recognised, high-quality and sustainable manufacturing nation.