The Federal Government has updated Australia’s Critical Minerals List and released a new Strategic Materials List along with plans to determine the potential for Strategic Critical Minerals Hubs. 

The updated Critical Minerals List has been expanded to include fluorine, molybdenum, arsenic, selenium, and tellurium. Helium has been removed, in efforts to align Australia’s list more closely to the lists of its international strategic partners.

Critical minerals are crucial to the energy transition, and the newly listed commodities are all used in the defence and technology sectors. 

In addition to the updated Critical Minerals List, the new Strategic Materials List identifies commodities essential for the energy transition, but which are not at risk of supply chain disruptions. 

The new Strategic Materials list will include copper, nickel, aluminium, phosphorus, tin, and zinc– which have well-established industries, greater global market depth, clearer price transparency, and stable supply chains.

A Strategic Critical Minerals Hubs feasibility study will explore where Federal and State and Territory Governments could support critical minerals infrastructure precincts producing commodities likely to become subject to supply chain disruptions. 

The updated critical minerals list and the strategic hubs feasibility study flow from recommendations of the Government’s Critical Minerals Strategy, released in June, as well as feedback from industry on supporting critical minerals development, and discussions with State and Territory resources ministers.

Federal Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Madeleine King, said that the changes followed extensive consultations with industry, the public, and states and territories, and would support Australia’s growth as a major exporter of clean energy materials.

“The updated Critical Minerals List and the new list of Strategic Materials will help government focus on those commodities needed to create jobs, keep us secure and power our economy,” Ms King said.

“These minerals are critical to the greening of our economy and the defence of Australia and our allies.

“The Critical Minerals List and Strategic Minerals List will be updated on an as-needed basis, as economic and geostrategic dynamics evolve.

“Australian copper, nickel, aluminium, phosphorus, tin and zinc will be vital to the world’s energy transition, which is why for the first time ever we have articulated their economic and strategic importance by creating the new Strategic Minerals List. 

“Australia is well placed to meet increasing global demand for minerals, with large endowments, technical expertise and established resource supply chains.” 

Industry response

The updates to the list have been met with mixed feelings in the industry.

The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) Chief Executive, Warren Pearce, said that the expansion of Australia’s Critical Mineral List is “a wasted opportunity”. 

“Instead of expanding the list to include nickel and copper, they have missed the mark completely,” Mr Pearce said. 

“That’s not to say, that these additional minerals aren’t important. Of course they are. But in terms of the economic opportunity for Australia that these minerals represent, it is relatively small. 

“The potential opportunity and value for Australia for developing large nickel and copper projects, and local down-streaming to go with them, is immense.” 

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (CME) Chief Executive, Rebecca Tomkinson, said that updates to the Critical Minerals List were timely but the value proposition of being on the list was still unclear.

“CME has advocated to the Federal Government for the inclusion of key minerals to the list so they are covered under the Australian Critical Minerals Strategy 2023-2030 and recognised for their role in achieving 2030 emissions reduction targets,” Ms Tomkinson said.

“The global scale of the energy transition means demand for Western Australia’s resources is at a record high, but defining the value of being on the critical minerals list has been elusive.

“Over half of Australia’s critical minerals projects are in Western Australia, so we would welcome more detail on how the list will support the Critical Minerals Strategy. Clearer pathways for critical minerals projects to access financial incentives and investment support mechanisms would be a strong message of support from government.”


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