Major critical minerals funding unlocks Northern Territory jobs and positions Australia as renewable energy superpower

Joint media release with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese MP, Northern Territory Chief Minister Eva Lawler MLA, and Minister for Trade and Tourism Senator Don Farrell.

The Albanese Government will provide up to $840 million (US$550 million) to help deliver Australia’s first combined rare earths mine and refinery in the Northern Territory, creating local jobs and securing Australia’s position as a renewable energy superpower. 

The refinery will create over 300 new jobs across the Northern Territory while also diversifying our critical minerals supply chain. A first of its kind in Australia, the project is an ambitious step forward for our rare earths and critical minerals industry. 

This ground-breaking investment will position Australia as a global leader in ethical and sustainable manufacturing of these minerals.

The rare earths mine and refinery will be operated by Australian mineral exploration company Arafura and is located 125 km north of Alice Springs.

During construction it will create over 200 jobs, with over 125 full time jobs ongoing, including the company’s stated ambition of securing 20 per cent local Indigenous employment.

Rare earths are used to make powerful magnets, and are an essential component in renewable energy and defence technologies. Electric vehicle motors, wind turbines, robotics and mobile phones are examples of the kinds of technologies that rely on rare earths.

The Government’s contribution will unlock further investment from international financiers and commercial banks, highlighting the value placed on this important investment.

This project is possible due to the Albanese Government’s commitment to a future made in Australia, which has seen the expansion of the Critical Minerals Facility and the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to a combined $11 billion.

Critical minerals are the building blocks for a clean energy future, and our Government has become a major investor and partner of this important sector, creating jobs and opportunities for more Australians.

Quotes attributable to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese:

“My Government is focussed on a future made in Australia, and this project is an important part of that plan.

“We will deliver critical jobs and economic development in the heart of the Territory and the north.

“This will create local jobs and economic opportunities, helping Australian and Territory companies and workers capture more value from the game-changing critical minerals deposits we have here.

“This project is a major vote of confidence in the Northern Territory, which continues to punch above its weight in global trade.”

Quotes attributable to the Northern Territory Chief Minister Eva Lawler:

“Creating more work opportunities for Territorians now and into the future is the priority of the Territory Labor Government.

“The Commonwealth’s commitment for Arafura’s rare earths mine and refinery will help us achieve that. It will create approximately 200 jobs during construction, and 125 ongoing local jobs in Central Australia.

“Arafura’s project is an example of how this Government is attracting investment into our critical minerals sector that will significantly contribute to the Territory’s role in energy transition and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Backed by record levels of investment into exploration, the mining and processing of critical minerals is a priority opportunity for the Territory to create more work opportunities for Territorians.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Trade and Tourism Don Farrell:

“Our Government is committed to unlocking new critical minerals projects to help us become a renewable energy superpower, and create hundreds of local high-paying jobs in the industries of the future.

“We have some of the largest deposits of critical minerals in the world and through this project, we’re encouraging more international partners like the Republic of Korea and Germany to invest in Australia and diversify global supply chains.

“International buyers and investors are key to developing our abundant critical minerals opportunities, which is why we are also building strong partnerships with major economies.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Resources and Minister for Northern Australia Madeleine King:

“Australia’s critical minerals will be crucial to the new low-emissions technologies that will help lower emissions and our trading partners to meet their climate goals.

“The combined funding from the Critical Minerals Facility and the NAIF will help Australia build downstream industries and support our goal to become a renewable energy superpower by 2030.

“To meet our net zero targets we will need more mining, not less, to build the solar panels, batteries and wind farms we need to reduce emissions.”