Critical minerals are crucial for developing low-carbon economies and achieving net zero goals. They are essential components in electric vehicles, hydrogen electrolysers, smartphones, computers, solar panels, batteries, and a range of defence and medical equipment.
Industry end users need stable supplies of critical minerals and are increasingly motivated to secure new sources through upstream investment.
Australia is well-positioned to meet the growing demand for responsibly produced minerals. Our resources sector has a reputation for extracting minerals safely, responsibly and with robust environmental, social and labour protections.
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Are you looking to invest in Australia’s critical minerals sector? We offer:
- a world-class mining industry
- an extensive pipeline of critical minerals projects at various stages of development
- security of tenure
- a highly skilled workforce
- excellent environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices
- a transparent regulatory environment with supportive governments, policies, incentives and programs
- a reliable, secure, and responsible local critical minerals supply chain.
Australian Critical Minerals Prospectus
Australia’s reserves are in the top five for 21 key world economic resources including cobalt, lithium, manganese, tungsten and vanadium
Source: GeoScience Australia 2022
- On 25 October 2023, the Albanese Government announced a $2 billion expansion in critical minerals financing, which will solidify Australia's position as a world leading provider, help the transition to net zero, boost the economy and support more jobs and opportunities for Australians. The Critical Minerals Facility is managed by the Australian Government’s credit agency Export Finance Australia (EFA), is a loan facility targeted at developing Australian projects consistent with the Australian Critical Minerals Strategy and national interest. This expansion of the Critical Minerals Facility takes the Government's value-adding investments in Australian resources to $6 billion. Investing in critical minerals financing will bolster the sector in Australia, resulting in technology, skills, jobs and economic benefits for Australians.
- According to Geoscience Australia, 80% of the country is considered “under-explored”. There are abundant opportunities for new mineral discoveries in Australia.
- Australia is the world’s:
- largest lithium exporter. It was responsible for 53% of global production in 2022 (Source: Office of the Chief Economist, Resources and Energy Quarterly March 2023).
- largest producer of zircon (zirconium) (30%), bauxite (27%), iron ore (36%), and rutile (26%) (Source: Geoscience Australia World Rankings 2022).
- 4th largest producer of rare earths. It has around 3.4% of the world’s rare earth resources (Source: Office of the Chief Economist, Outlook for Selected Critical Minerals 2021).
- 2nd largest cobalt producer. It has around 19% of world cobalt resources. (Source: Office of the Chief Economist, Outlook for Selected Critical Minerals 2021).
Video: Australia – a leading destination for critical minerals
See how Australia offers opportunities to diversify supply chains and secure a reliable supply of critical minerals.
Incentives, grants and support
Australia’s Critical Mineral Strategy 2023-2030 is a framework to guide future government policy decisions and help ensure Australia is a globally significant producer of raw and processed critical minerals.
We offer wide-ranging support for businesses looking to invest in and add value to our resources and energy sector.
- The $57.1 million Critical Minerals International Partnerships Program is targeted at attracting international investment from like-minded partners and accelerating projects of strategic interest.
- The Australian Government has announced a target investment level of up to A$1 billion of the A$15 billion National Reconstruction Fund (NRF) financing vehicle for value-adding in resources. This could potentially include investments into innovative technologies like exploration or drilling technologies, expanding Australia’s mining science technology and helping to drive growth in the sector. A target investment of up to A$3 billion from the NRF has also been earmarked for renewable and low emission technologies.
- The A$2 billion Critical Minerals Facility, managed by the Australian Government’s credit agency Export Finance Australia (EFA), is a loan facility targeted at developing Australian projects consistent with the Australian Critical Minerals Strategy and national interest.
- The A$5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) is a Commonwealth Government entity established to facilitate financing infrastructure projects in the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia. As part of the Critical Minerals Strategy, the government will direct A$500 million of new investment into critical minerals projects.
- The Australian Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) supports energy sector developments, including mining and processing, where there is a renewable energy, energy efficiency or low emission technology.
- The Junior Minerals Exploration Incentive (JMEI) encourages investment in small minerals exploration companies that carry out greenfields minerals exploration in Australia.
- The Major Projects Facilitation Agency (MPFA) is the Australian Government entry point for assisting developers of projects over $20 million. MPFA supports the sector by providing information on regulations, mapping pathways and communicating with regulators.
- A Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) grant provides funding for medium to long-term, industry-led research collaborations for up to 10 years.
- A$130 million, world leading Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre (FBI-CRC). Research projects include a six-year R&D program targeting each stage of the battery value chain.
- The A$220 million MinEx CRC is the world’s largest mineral exploration collaboration between industry, researchers and the community.
- The Cooperative Research Centre for Transformations in Mining Economies (CRC TiME) brings together over 70 leading mining and mining service companies to address Mining Rehabilitation
- The Research and Development Tax Incentive is the government’s key mechanism to stimulate industry investment in research and development in Australia. The R&D Tax Incentive offsets some of the costs to encourage Australian industry to undertake additional R&D activities.
- The Australian Tax Office’s New Investment Engagement Service gives tailored guidance on tax issues to businesses planning significant new investments in Australia.
Join our thriving ecosystem
Australia’s critical minerals sector is supported by a vibrant innovation ecosystem, including world-regarded research expertise and dedicated funding and industry bodies.
- Austrade is the Australian government’s lead trade and investment facilitation agency. We develop commercial partnerships that connect Australian businesses with our trade partners and target markets. Austrade delivers specialised services to Australian critical minerals companies, including bespoke client engagement programs and targeted trade missions. Contact us to find out more.
- The Critical Minerals Office (CMO) provides advice for industry to help develop Australia’s critical minerals industry. It can connect investors to Australian critical minerals projects and provides support in research and development. It helps coordinate policy priorities including developing an ethical certification scheme and critical minerals processing precincts.
- Geoscience Australia is a trusted source of information on Australia’s geology and geography. It provides technical capability, geoscience information, innovation and advice on critical minerals.
- The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) provides the mining and minerals processing industries with consultancy, process development and research services.
- Australia’s National science organisation, CSIRO runs research centres and provides grant funding supporting the critical minerals sector. Its projects include developing new critical mineral extraction and processing technologies.
- A new A$50.5 million Australian Critical Minerals Research and Development Hub will build on Australia’s world-leading research capabilities by drawing together critical minerals expertise in national science agency CSIRO, ANSTO and Geoscience Australia.
AI-ECTA critical minerals factsheets
The Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (IA-ECTA), which came into force 29 December 2022, removed tariffs for most Australian critical minerals and offers India improved access to the world's leading supplier of these resources. Tariffs were eliminated for coal, alumina, metallic ores, including manganese, copper and nickel; and critical minerals including titanium, lithium, cobalt, tungsten and zirconium. While LNG tariffs are bound at 0 per cent.
India is Australia's fifth largest energy and resources export market. It is a major investor in Australian resources sector, and has a significant and growing demand for critical minerals products and other resources.
AI-ECTA assists in realising the potential of the Australia-India economic relationship and provides certainty in the supply of high quality and competitively priced critical minerals essential in the production of mobile phones, flat screen monitors, wind turbines, electric cars and solar panels.