The Queensland Resources Council has welcomed the Australian Government’s announcement of new finance pathways for critical minerals projects, along with a special project facilitation office.
Projects which boost Australia’s ability to extract and process critical minerals will be eligible for financial support through Export Finance Australia (EFA).
Changes will also be made to allow projects to access dual funding through the EFA as well as the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF).
The government will also commit $4.5 million to fund critical minerals research by key Commonwealth scientific agencies.
It comes as QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane prepares to join Resources Minister Matt Canavan’s Australian critical minerals delegation to Washington next week to further develop the US-Australia trading partnership.
“Queensland will be at the forefront of the development of Australia’s critical minerals,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“This emerging part of the resources sector will play a strategic role for Australia in terms of defence industries, manufacturing, trade and regional development.
“Our rich resources state of Queensland has significant reserves of key critical minerals including battery-related minerals.
“We have 13 per cent of Australia’s economic demonstrated resources of copper, 3 per cent of nickel, 6 per cent of zinc, 18 per cent of graphite, along with 70 per cent of molybdenum and significant identified deposits of cobalt, rhenium, scandium, tantalum, niobium, lithium, rare earths and vanadium.”
Senator Canavan said the government was determined to develop rare earth and critical mineral assets for the benefit of Australia and its technology-driven industries.
“By allowing proponents to secure financing through both EFA and the NAIF, we are enhancing opportunities for our critical mineral sector. This opens up new opportunities in trade and manufacturing, creating jobs of the future for thousands of Australians,” he said.
“To further facilitate the sector’s growth, a specialised new Critical Minerals Facilitation Office will be opened on January 1 2020 to help proponents secure investment, financing and market access for critical mineral projects. The office will also support international cooperation to help diversify critical minerals supply chains.
“With the increasing global uptake of electric vehicles, smart phones and renewable energy, Australia is well placed to become an international powerhouse to supply critical minerals, and the Government is committed to developing world-leading projects which could help supply global markets.”