New data shows dramatic increases in critical minerals

Dramatic increases in critical minerals resources, including tantalum, lithium and rare earths, have been recorded in new data released by the Australian Government.

The data, collected by Geoscience Australia from the mining industry in 2018, also shows that Australia continues to be a global leader in mineral exploration and production.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said Australia’s mineral sector continues to play a significant role in the economic prosperity of all Australians.

“The boost in our critical minerals resources is the most significant change to the national minerals inventory,” Minister Pitt said.

“The data shows that our resources of tantalum rose by almost 80 per cent and lithium by nearly 70 per cent in the preceding 12 months.

“We also saw our resources of both platinum group elements and rare earth elements increase by 26 per cent in that time.

“These critical minerals are integral to the production of mobile phones, LCD screens, microchips, magnets, batteries and the new and emerging technologies that will drive our economy and innovation into the future.”

The data was released as part of the annual Australia’s Identified Mineral Resources (AIMR) report, which analyses trends in reserve estimates, resource estimates and mine production.

The increase in resources is consistent with the data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on 2 March this year which has shown a continuing increase in expenditure on mineral exploration.

The latest edition of AIMR is part of a suite of publications developed to inform mineral explorers and attract mining investment to Australia. The suite was launched by the Australian Government at one of the world’s premier mineral exploration and mining conventions hosted by the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) in Toronto from 1-4 March this year.

Minister Pitt said the Australian Government was focused on opening doors for the local mining industry, including to the growing global market for critical minerals.

“Earlier this week at PDAC, on behalf of the Australian Government, Geoscience Australia established an agreement with the Geological Survey of Canada to work together to better understand our respective geological resource potential,” Minister Pitt said.

“This follows the agreement we signed with the United States last year to collaborate on critical minerals research with the United States Geological Survey.

“At home, our Critical Minerals Facilitation Office is working to support local critical minerals projects to secure investment, finance and market access. This will open up new opportunities in trade and manufacturing, creating jobs of the future for thousands of Australians.”

For more information about the suite of publications released at PDAC, including AIMR 2019, visit the Geoscience Australia website.

Media contact: Minister Pitt's office 02 6277 7180