The Western Australia (WA) Government has released an updated battery and critical minerals strategy to position itself as a major global player in the downstream processing of critical minerals sector.

The revised plan seeks to capitalise on the state’s industry growth since the last strategy refresh in 2020, including significant growth in the battery and critical minerals industries.

The WA Government noted that there have been changes in the international investment environment, including significant global policy shifts in the critical minerals and renewables industries.

The new strategy outlines the government’s vision to expand the state’s competitive and value-adding industry through to 2030.

It is designed to support global decarbonisation efforts, diversify the economy and provide benefits for regional and Aboriginal communities.

The government’s immediate priorities include streamlining the approvals system, investing in infrastructure and offering targeted support for key projects.

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Since the inaugural Future Battery Industry Strategy in 2019, WA has seen a significant increase in critical minerals production.

Sales of copper, cobalt, nickel and lithium have surged from A$6.1bn ($4.03bn) to A$22bn in the past four years.

This growth is underpinned by the government’s new A$500m Strategic Industries Fund, aimed at preparing land for industrial projects and fostering sustainable development.

The fund, part of the 2024–25 State Budget, will finance common-user and other essential infrastructure across regional and metropolitan areas.

This initiative coincides with the Department of Energy, Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s report revealing a stellar year for the state’s resource sector, with record employment levels and near-record sales of A$248bn in the last calendar year.

Additionally, the WA Government has allocated A$36.4m to expedite project approvals, enhancing the efficiency of WA’s approvals framework.

This investment is expected to deliver timely decisions for proponents, stakeholders and government agencies, facilitating job creation and economic growth.

WA Premier Roger Cook said: “Since 2015, there has been more than $9bn of investment in WA’s critical minerals processing industries.

“Critical minerals are the centrepiece of WA’s economic diversification story and we are working to position our state as a major global leader in downstream processing.

“This refreshed strategy was developed through consultation with key stakeholders and received more than 50 submissions following a public discussion paper released last year. It sets out key actions to further grow investment in the sector by playing to Western Australia’s strengths, to maximise outcomes for Western Australians.”