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New report highlights Australia’s opportunity in critical minerals

3 September 2019

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan has welcomed a new report which examines the market outlook for six critical minerals that hold significant potential for Australia: niobium, rare earth elements, cobalt, antimony, magnesium and tungsten.

The Outlook for Selected Critical Minerals: Australia 2019 report comes at a time when critical minerals are of great interest because of their pivotal role in many technologies, growing consumer markets and limited diversity in production and processing.

Minister Canavan said the report detailed the market dynamics and consumption outlook for the six critical minerals it focuses on. 

“The boom in electric vehicle, battery and magnet manufacturing is expected to add even further strength to the growing demand for Australia’s critical minerals,” Minister Canavan said.

“This report complements the Critical Minerals Strategy released earlier this year, and helps highlight current critical mineral projects in the development pipeline, including cobalt, tungsten and rare earths projects.

“We are among the top six resource holders in the world for the focus commodities, meaning there is potential for additional production and investment.

“At a global level, we are the largest rare earths producer outside China and our resource endowment, mining capability and existing processing infrastructure means we are well placed to help meet global demand.

“As the third largest producer of cobalt, with more capacity in the pipeline, we have an incredibly important role to play in providing a secure and ethical cobalt supply to the world.

“Australia’s world-class niobium deposits, which aren’t currently being exploited, will show the potential of Australia’s resources and development projects to bring new production to world markets.

“There is also enormous potential for Australia to tap into currently undiscovered resources. Our established mining areas only cover 20 per cent of our landmass, which means the 80 per cent of our continent which is unexplored is holds enormous potential for future finds.

“As a government, we are already targeting the three 'i's to help foster our critical minerals sector – investment, innovation and infrastructure – to the clear the way for more development."

The report was prepared by the Office of the Chief Economist.

Media contact: Minister Canavan's office 02 6277 7180