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Research collaborations to power critical minerals

9 February 2020

The Morrison Government is continuing to invest in projects to cement Australia’s position as a critical minerals powerhouse, to grow the economy and create new jobs.

Six critical minerals projects will share in more than $11 million in funding under round 8 of the Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-Ps).

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said critical minerals presented Australia with huge economic and environmental potential.

“Developing Australia’s critical minerals industry is vital to Australia’s economic growth and these projects recognise the enormous opportunity to create new jobs,” Minister Andrews said.

“Value-adding to the critical minerals which we have in abundance in this country has obvious economic benefits, but is also essential as we look to scale-up the battery technologies which can help us transition to new fuel sources.

“The projects being funded involve unlocking ground-breaking new ways to produce materials for advanced batteries, including batteries which could power trams.”

VSPC is receiving a $1.6 million grant to develop advanced, fast-charging nano-engineered batteries to power a new generation of trams, without the need for overhead power lines.

Other successful critical minerals projects are:

  • $2.5 million to develop a process to produce battery grade nickel and cobalt sulphates.
  • $2.4 million to optimise processing of pyrite ore to produce battery grade cobalt and sulfur.
  • $2.2 million to generate products such as cobalt salts and value added mixed-metal lithium ion battery precursors.
  • $1.3 million to refine the critical mineral spodumene to produce lithium battery chemicals.
  • $1.2 million to recover vanadium to 99.95% purity for vanadium redox battery applications.

Minister Andrews said this investment in research added to the work already being done by the Government to develop Australia’s critical minerals and rare earths sector.

“The work being funded via the CRC program is a valuable investment in finding the best way to develop and process our critical minerals.

“The Liberal National Government is taking a 360-degree approach to the task of developing the sector – by finding new ways to provide financial support to projects, building relationships and diversifying potential international markets, investing in research and opening the Critical Minerals Facilitation Office last month.”

About $289 million in funding has been committed to CRC-Ps since 2016. This commitment further builds on the Morrison Government’s plan to strengthen Australian industry and create 1.25 million new jobs in the next five years.

Information on how to apply, and details of previous grant recipients is available at www.business.gov.au/crc-p

Applications for Round 9 of the CRC-P grants will open on February 13 and close on March 19.

Media contact: Minister Andrews' office 02 6277 7070