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New office to support emerging critical minerals industry

18 January 2020

Australia’s new Critical Minerals Facilitation Office is open for business and ready to support the development and growth of our critical minerals sector.

Resources and Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan said Australia’s abundant resources of critical minerals were a crucial component of modern high-technology and clean-energy industries.

“We have the potential to become an international powerhouse in the supply of critical minerals with increasing demand from rising use of electric cars, renewable energy and smart phones,” Minister Canavan said.

“Australia has abundant reserves of critical minerals and rare earths and the Government is committed to developing world-leading projects which improve diversity of supply in the global markets.”

The Office will work with all levels of government, industry and the science and research sector to develop our critical mineral resources, maximise opportunities and develop downstream industries. 

The Critical Minerals Facilitation Office will be led by Jessica Robinson, who is experienced in developing critical minerals and foreign investment policy.

Minister Canavan said Ms Robinson had the credentials to lead the growth of Australia’s critical minerals sector, as a former senior official in Treasury and Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Ms Robinson will hold a series of stakeholder roundtable meetings around the country early in the year to promote and explain the role of the Office and inform priority actions.

Minister Canavan announced the Critical Minerals Facilitation Office in November, ahead of crucial talks in the United States where Australia and the US formalised a partnership on developing critical minerals supply chains.  A detailed plan to support joint action will be further developed when senior officials meet in Washington in late February and will complement a range of actions Australia is pursuing with key international partners, including Japan, India and Europe.

Critical minerals projects will be eligible to apply for financial support through Export Finance Australia , the Defence Export Facility and the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF). The Office will work closely with these funding facilities and the Clean Energy Financing Cooperation to help projects access finance.

Australia published its Critical Minerals Strategy in March 2019 and published a report on the Outlook for selected critical minerals in Australia in September 2019.

Australia is one of the top five producers of critical minerals such as antimony, manganese, ilmenite and rutile and is the second largest  producer of rare earths, with 13 per cent of global production.

Information about the Critical Minerals Facilitation office is available at www.industry.gov.au/about-us/critical-minerals-facilitation-office or by emailing criticalminerals [at] industry.gov.au.

Media contact:

Minister Canavan's office 02 6277 7180