The South Australian Chamber of Mining and Energy (SACOME) is calling on the South Australian Government to establish a Critical Minerals Development Fund.  

The fund would be used to accelerate development of critical minerals projects and catalyse the development of processing hubs in South Australia. 

SACOME said that an initial investment of $50 million would provide the state with a jurisdictional advantage and better leverage its existing mineral processing capacity. 

With an abundance of resources, including 80 per cent of Australia’s battery-grade graphite resources and large quantities of lithium, cobalt, manganese and nickel, South Australia has the potential to become a key player in the global supply chain for critical minerals. 

To further capitalise on critical mineral wealth, SACOME continues to call for the completion of a Critical Minerals to Metals Strategy and an initial investment of $50 million in the proposed Critical Minerals Development Fund. 

Nyrstar Port Pirie has been processing and refining metals for over 130 years and Port Pirie, Whyalla and Roxby Downs have already been identified by the State Government in the State Prosperity Project as key locations to potentially benefit from processing hubs. 

The Australian Critical Minerals Research Centre at the University of Adelaide is the first such facility in Australia and one of only a few in the world that carries out multidisciplinary research in the discovery and extraction of critical minerals. It has helped solidify Australia’s position at the cutting edge of geoscience and resource processing research. 

SACOME said that investment in these and other critical minerals projects will not only drive growth of critical mineral production in South Australia but also expand supply of commodities necessary to support the energy transition and decarbonisation of heavy industry. 

This investment is set to underpin rapid expansion of critical minerals projects to meet increasing global demand, while ensuring energy security and contributing to a more sustainable future for the state. 

SACOM’s CEO, Rebecca Knol, said that significant investment in the Critical Minerals to Metals Strategy and the Critical Minerals Development Fund will accelerate vital projects that fully leverage the state’s critical minerals resources. 

“As global demand for critical minerals continues to rise, we call upon the South Australian Government to capitalise on our critical minerals resources and enact funding measures that will drive its growth and provide jurisdictional advantage to South Australia,” Ms Knol said.  

Nyrstar Port Pirie General Manager – Operations, Mark Eaton, said that for more than 130 years, the team at Port Pirie has processed and refined metals critical for the world. 

“With critical minerals and metals more important than ever before, support for projects and sites that have the potential to extract more critical and strategic metals will be essential if South Australia is to play its part in supporting more diverse supply chains and sustaining industry.”  

The South Australian 2024‑25 State Budget is expected to be delivered on Thursday 6 June 2024. 

Image: DinoPh/shutterstock.com 

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