A new strategy commissioned by the Federal Government will help to maximise Australia’s potential as a world powerhouse in lithium-ion battery manufacturing.
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham this week launched Austrade’s new Lithium-Ion Battery Value Chain: New Economy Opportunities for Australia report and said Australia was well positioned to become a world-leader in this developing market.
“Lithium-ion battery technology has enabled the mobile device revolution and is driving innovation and a global shift in energy storage solutions,” Senator Birmingham said.
“With growing global demand for lithium-ion batteries, this report recognises that Australia has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform into a major processing, manufacturing and trading hub for lithium-ion batteries.
“At the moment Australia produces about half of the world’s lithium, but once it’s mined out of the ground, it’s shipped offshore, with all of the value-creation activities such as processing and battery manufacturing occurring overseas.
“Australia is uniquely blessed with numerous rare earths that are increasingly important, both economically and strategically across the globe.
“Our ambition is to drive enhanced investment across the value chain of commodities like lithium.
“Now is the time to accelerate the development of a high-tech lithium manufacturing sector in our own backyard.”
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Matthew Canavan, said it was time Australia took advantage of the booming lithium industry.
“Lithium prices have tripled since 2010 and global battery consumption is predicted to increase five-fold in the next 10 years, driven by a global shift to electric vehicles in some markets and off-grid storage to support renewable energy development,” Senator Canavan said.
“As the world’s largest producer of lithium and with mineral reserves covering 90 per cent of the elements required in lithium-ion battery production, we have an enormous opportunity to leverage off this rapidly-growing industry.”
Chief executive officer of the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies, Warren Pearce, said the Austrade report identified real potential for Australia in processing battery minerals.
“If we were to realise this opportunity it could reshape the entire Australian economy, providing jobs, economic diversification and leadership in a critical future technology,” Mr Pearce said.
“Austrade will have a crucial role in attracting international companies with battery technology in order to support a move down the battery minerals value chain.
“It is a timely report and a call to action for Australia. It clearly spells out the opportunity and Australia can seize it.”