Program guidelines for grants to boost critical minerals development

The Australian Government has released guidelines for new grants to help develop Australia’s critical minerals sector, support downstream processing, create jobs across regional Australia and support global efforts to achieve net-zero.

The Critical Minerals Development Program will provide up to $50 million in grants from $1 million to $30 million to support projects that will strengthen Australia’s sovereign capabilities in critical minerals, which are crucial for low-emissions technologies such as electric vehicles, batteries and solar panels, as well as aerospace and defence applications.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Madeleine King said the program would accelerate the development of Australia’s critical minerals sector and would help both Australia and the world to achieve its net-zero commitments. 

“The grants program will help Australia become a trusted and stable global supplier of critical minerals and rare earths which are needed to help lower global emissions,” Minister King said.

“The grants will support up to half of eligible expenditure on projects that will strengthen global supply chains and help Australia build capacity to process critical minerals into strategically important technologies such as lithium-ion batteries, rare earth element magnets, semi-conductors, and communications components.

“We expect the grants will support projects that will create jobs and investment in regional Australia, while generating further collaboration with Australia’s international partners.”

Demand for low-emissions technologies is projected to skyrocket over the next three decades, which is expected to increase demand for lithium 40-fold, cobalt and graphite 20-fold and rare earth elements 7-fold, among others.

“The road to net zero runs through Australia’s resources sector,” Minister King said.

“We need Australia’s critical minerals if we are to reach net zero.”

Australia produces almost half of the world’s lithium, is the second-largest producer of cobalt and the fourth-largest producer of rare earths.

The Critical Minerals Development Program grant guidelines are available now on the Department of Industry, Science and Resources website.

Applications will be open from 17 January to 20 February 2023.

The Government is currently reviewing Australia’s Critical Minerals Strategy, to support the sector’s continued growth and capitalise on the demand boom for clean energy technologies.