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March 17, 2022updated 18 Mar 2022 11:19am

Australia announces $176m in funding for critical minerals projects

Expected to create over 3,400 jobs, the four projects could help strengthen Australia’s position in the critical minerals markets.

The Australian Government is set to invest more than A$243m ($175.9m) in four projects to unlock the country’s critical minerals potential.

This funding forms part of the Collaboration Stream of the A$1.3bn ($941m) Modern Manufacturing Initiative, which aims to help Australia scale-up manufacturing and become more competitive and resilient.

Expected to create more than 3,400 jobs, the four projects could strengthen Australia’s position in the expanding critical minerals, electric vehicle and battery markets.

Australian tech company Pure Battery Minerals has been awarded A$119.6m ($86.5m) for its A$399m ($245.4m) battery cathode active material refinery hub in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.

The project is being carried out in partnership with nickel miner Poseidon Nickel and will involve the construction of an integrated nickel/manganese/cobalt battery material refinery hub.

Planned to be commissioned in 2023, the refinery is expected to have an initial production of up to 50,000tpa of precursor Cathode Active Material (pCAM), with potential for expansion over time.

Besides, Australian Vanadium secured A$49m ($35.4m) in funding to support the development of its high-grade Australian Vanadium Project in Western Australia.

The project comprises two parts, notably the mine site, crushing, milling and beneficiation at Gabanintha near Meekatharra; and the vanadium processing plant near the port city of Geraldton.

Furthermore, Arafura Resources received A$30m ($21.7m) for its Nolans project in Central Australia.

Said to be the first of its kind rare earth separation plant in the country, the A$90.8m ($65.7m) project will see the development of rare earth separation technology incorporating Australia’s mineral processing expertise.

Australian firm Alpha HPA also secured A$45m ($32.5m) in funding for its A$330m ($238.9m) project to build a high purity alumina (HPA) production facility near Gladstone.

Being developed with Australia-based Orica, the project is expected to help the country meet the increasing demand for lithium-ion batteries and LED lights.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “These projects are about manufacturing the products and materials Australians need and the world needs, by making them right here at home.”

Australian Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said: “These projects are not only game-changers for the local region with the creation of new jobs, they will also open up incredible export opportunities.”

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