Funding for minerals helps boost supplies for commercial technologies

Critical minerals form a major part of commercial technologies such as electric vehicles.

Lithium, cobalt, titanium and Australia’s other critical mineral resources will be the focus of the Australian government’s latest industry funding round, announced on February 13.

For the first time, funding applications related to critical minerals projects will be prioritised under the Cooperative Research Centres Project (CRC-P) grants – helping to grow the resources sector, driving the nation’s economy and creating more jobs.

Critical minerals are those that could cause economic or strategic issues if affected by supply disruptions.

Up to $20 million will be available for critical minerals applications as part of this funding round.

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Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said prioritising applications for critical minerals is crucial, as they form a major part of commercial technologies such as mobile phone chips and electric vehicles.

“CRC-P funded research has supported the commercialisation of technologies, products and services that assist businesses across agriculture, clean technology, infrastructure, IT, artificial intelligence, mining, manufacturing, aerospace and health.

“The funding is available for grants of up to $3m, over a maximum period of three years. In addition to applications in the critical minerals field, the round is open to all industry sectors,” said Andrews.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matthew Canavan said Australia is well positioned to become a world leader in this developing market.

“Demand for critical minerals such as lithium and rare earths is growing rapidly.

“Australia is uniquely blessed to have many critical minerals, which are increasingly important both economically and strategically across the globe, including lithium which has tripled in price since 2010 on the back of the battery boom.

“Without critical minerals, we would not have our smart phones, our laptop computers, solar panels, wind turbines, and electric vehicles – products we rely on heavily but often take for granted,” said Canavan.