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Grants ramp up critical minerals projects

Grants for critical minerals projects will support hundreds of new jobs in regional and northern Australia.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Madeleine King announced the funding on Friday to accelerate the development of projects as part of Australia’s efforts to reach net-zero emissions.

Some $50 million will go to six key projects to unlock the potential of the sector so Australia can become a major global supplier of critical minerals and rare earths, she said.

“Australia has vast reserves of critical minerals which are crucial to batteries and electric vehicles, as well as the medical equipment production, defence, aerospace, automotive and agritech industries,” she said.

China continues to dominate mining, refining and supply of the vital minerals, as the United States and other economies look to shore up future supply chains with new sources.

“These junior projects, should they be successful in scaling up to full production, will help diversify global critical minerals supply chains,” Ms King said.

The minister said the grants would support more than 500 new jobs.

Alpha HPA, near Gladstone in Queensland, will get $15.5 million for its “ultra-pure aluminium” chemical plant that will produce materials for the lithium-ion battery and synthetic sapphire markets.

Cobalt Blue will use $15 million to accelerate a feasibility study for its Broken Hill project to produce cobalt products in Australia that are essential to make batteries.

EQ Resources will get $6 million for tungsten production through recovering mine waste and reactivating open-pit mining in Mount Carbine, Queensland.

Global Advanced Metals will use $4 million for a tantalum and tin recovery plant at Greenbushes in Western Australia, increasing the volume of tantalum produced in Australia.

Lava Blue gets up to $5.24 million for its project to develop technology to recover alumina, magnesium and other critical minerals from vanadium mine waste.

Western Australia’s Mineral Commodities will use $3.94 million to developing a graphite ore-to-battery anodes business, producing battery grade graphite, based in Munglinup.

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