Ministers agree to support critical minerals

Federal, state and territory resources and mining ministers have agreed to coordinate efforts to support the development of Australia’s critical minerals sector.

Resources and Northern Australia Minister Madeleine King, who hosted a ministerial roundtable in Perth today, said the development of the critical minerals sector was a national mission which was essential if Australia was to help the world lower emissions and achieve net zero commitments.

“This was the first ministerial roundtable since 2020, and over the past three years global demand for Australia’s critical minerals has increased dramatically,” Minister King said. 

“Ministers agreed that the development of our critical minerals sector is a national priority which will lead to new economic opportunities, particularly for regional Australia, and will help produce the materials needed to lower emissions in Australia and around the world.”

Minister King said Australia has vast reserves of the critical minerals that were essential for net-zero technologies such as electric vehicles, wind turbines, battery storage and solar panels.

“The road to global net zero passes through Australia's resources industry and our emerging critical minerals sector,” Minister King said.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has stated the world needs to rapidly build secure and resilient supply chains for the critical minerals to meet global demand for low-emissions technologies.

Minister King said the ministerial roundtable discussed how governments could support the growth of Australia’s critical minerals sector by ensuring projects are approved in a timely manner, while ensuring rigorous protections for the environment and communities.

Ministers also discussed the importance of developing policies to encourage investment in critical minerals and processing infrastructure and highlighted the need for further efforts in exploration and creating common user infrastructure.

Minister King said Ministers agreed to use the ministerial roundtable as a regular meeting to foster collaboration, growth and investment in the critical minerals sector.

The Australian Government is developing a new Critical Minerals Strategy to be released later in 2023. Minister King said the ministerial roundtable was an opportunity to ensure the new strategy draws on expert views and knowledge across all Australian states and territories.

Minister King was joined at the roundtable by ministers from the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia. Ministers from Victoria and NSW were not represented due to unavailability and the state election campaign currently underway, respectively.