The Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matthew Canavan has welcomed a new report that examines the market outlook for six critical minerals that hold significant potential for Australia: niobium, rare-earth elements, cobalt, antimony, magnesium, and tungsten.
The Outlook for Selected Critical Minerals:Australia 2019 report comes at a time when critical minerals are of great interest because of their pivotal role in many technologies, growing consumer markets, and limited diversity in production and processing.
“The boom in electric vehicle, battery, and magnet manufacturing is expected to add even further strength to the growing demand for Australia’s critical minerals,” Canavan says.
Canavan says the report detailed the market dynamics and consumption outlook for the six identified critical minerals. Australia is the largest rare-earth elements producer outside of China, with an infrastructure capable of being exploited to meet global demand, Canavan says. The country also has vast niobium deposits that can be developed for production and distributed to international markets. Furthermore, Canavan says, “As the third largest producer of cobalt, with more capacity in the pipeline, we have an incredibly important role to play in providing a secure and ethical cobalt supply to the world.”
According to the Minister, Australia has an additional 80% of landmass that can be explored for mining.
“As a government, we are already targeting the three ‘I’s to help foster our critical minerals sector—investment, innovation, and infrastructure—to clear the way for more development,” Canavan says.
The report was prepared by the Office of the Chief Economist of Australia.