The Climate Council says the Australian Government’s plan to boost the processing of critical minerals needed for batteries, solar panels and wind turbines is a welcome step that can potentially strengthen the country’s economy while tackling climate change.
The 10-year Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Processing Roadmap, announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison today, makes funding available to improve Australia’s resource processing and manufacturing expertise.
“Boosting our processing capability of rare earth and other critical minerals can add value to our economy and support growth in our manufacturing sector,” said Climate Council spokesperson and economist, Nicki Hutley.
“Processing minerals domestically could give Australian manufacturers a major competitive advantage in manufacturing renewable energy technologies, batteries, and electric vehicle parts,” she said.
“It could also drive much-needed jobs transition in mining regions like the Hunter Valley in NSW, central Queensland and Western Australia. These areas already have the natural resources and significant skills and infrastructure, but will need additional investment.”
Ms Hutley said to help manufacturers be low-carbon as well as competitive, governments must increase the supply of affordable renewable energy to power new minerals processing operations.
“Ultimately, this roadmap is a promising step towards a self-reliant minerals manufacturing sector, the development of technologies that tackle climate change, and a prime position in the global minerals market,” she said.
“But the Government’s support for a gas-led recovery instead of a plan to power Australia with clean, affordable renewable energy is a roadblock to its success.”