- Media Release
Policy setting key to critical minerals success
The Federal Government’s expanded critical minerals list and strategic materials list seeks to provide a level of certainty and a framework to progress development and integration.
However, without the appropriate and internationally competitive policy settings to attract the investment required to unlock this opportunity, the strategy will struggle to deliver real outcomes.
Despite the enormous contribution to Australia’s economic strength, the minerals sector is under attack from Australian governments. Regressive and targeted policy interventions on industrial relations, environmental approvals, energy, tax and royalties are threatening the future of the nation’s most productive industry and threatening its future.
The cumulative effect of these policies are a critical blockage to the investment required to build the mines of the future; the very mines that will drive Australia towards meeting its net zero target.
It is all well and good to promote minerals as critical and strategic, but Australia needs those minerals out of the ground and processed, as fast as possible.
The average mine takes 16 years to move from discovery to production, with lengthy approval processes, across multiple jurisdictions, a key inhibitor. It is crucial that work also ramps up on the delivery of multi-user infrastructure facilities, to help unlock deposits that lack even the most basic infrastructure.
The inclusion of tellurium, molybdenum, fluorine and selenium to the critical minerals list is important, as is the establishment of a strategic materials list containing copper, nickel, aluminium, tin, phosphate and zinc.
Accelerating the development of these deposits would elevate Australian mining and processing of strategic materials and underpin the emergence of a deeper Australian based processing and manufacturing industry.
In its transition to a clean energy economy, Australia must embrace energy solutions that will continue to provide industrial heat and electricity required to process these raw materials.
The world is recognising the critical role that nuclear energy can play in this transition and firming capability. Yet Australia, with one third of the world’s uranium reserves, will not consider it on stubborn ideological grounds, nor will it include uranium on its critical minerals or strategic materials lists.
Now is the time to seize this incredible opportunity and reap the benefits of what looms as another major mining boom.