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Maximising Australia's critical minerals potential

13 February 2019

Joint media release with the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia  

Lithium, cobalt, titanium and Australia’s other critical mineral resources will be the focus of the Liberal National Government’s latest industry funding round, opening today.

For the first time, funding applications related to critical minerals projects will be prioritised under Round 7 of the Cooperative Research Centres Project (CRC-P) grants, helping to grow our resources sector, driving the nation’s economy and creating more jobs.

Critical minerals are those that could cause economic or strategic issues if affected by supply disruptions. Up to $20 million will be available for critical minerals applications as part of this funding round.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the grants were part of the Liberal National Government’s broader CRC Program.

“This program is key in ensuring our industries continue to expand and create new jobs for Australians,” Minister Andrews said.

“The Program delivers tangible outcomes and commercial benefits thanks to industry-led research partnerships, and to date we’ve committed $202 million to 95 projects.

“CRC-P funded research has supported the commercialisation of technologies, products and services that assist businesses across agriculture, clean technology, infrastructure, IT, artificial intelligence, mining, manufacturing, aerospace and health.

“Prioritising applications for critical minerals is crucial, as they form a major part of commercial technologies like mobile phone chips and electric vehicles.

“The funding is available for grants of up to $3 million, over a maximum period of three years. In addition to applications in the critical minerals field, the round is open to all industry sectors.”

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matthew Canavan said Australia was well positioned to become a world leader in this developing market.

“Demand for critical minerals such as lithium and rare earths is growing rapidly,” Minister Canavan said.

“Australia is uniquely blessed to have many critical minerals, which are increasingly important both economically and strategically across the globe, including lithium which has tripled in price since 2010 on the back of the battery boom.

“Without critical minerals, we would not have our smart phones, our laptop computers, solar panels, wind turbines, and electric vehicles – products we rely on heavily but often take for granted.

“In December, the inaugural COAG Resources meeting agreed to develop a critical minerals work program in response to the huge range of industries which are rapidly changing because of the use of critical minerals in the new economy.

“This funding round will add even more momentum to our critical minerals sector by helping Australian companies take advantage of its potential, whilst supporting development of the Government’s national critical minerals strategy.”

Applications for Round 7 close at 5:00pm AEDT, 28 March 2019, with funding outcomes expected to be announced in June 2019.

To apply, and for information on previous grant recipients visit www.business.gov.au/crc-p

Media contacts:

Minister Andrews' office 02 6277 7070

Minister Canavan's office 02 6277 7180