Virtual National Critical Minerals Research and Development Center
I welcome the exciting announcement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Resources and Water Keith Pitt on March 16 outlining a new Critical Minerals Strategy, including a series of initiatives to create a minerals sector competitive reviews in Australia.
Geoscience Australia is well placed to help cement Australia’s reputation as an essential mineral powerhouse. We have a strong track record of driving investment in mineral exploration, with our pre-competitive data unlocking new exploration and development opportunities across Australia. This is made possible through programs such as the $225 million Exploring for the Future program that we offer here at Geoscience Australia.
The establishment of a $50 million virtual National Critical Minerals Research and Development Center is a central part of the updated Critical Minerals Strategy 2022 and provides another opportunity for Geoscience Australia to help strengthen Australia’s credentials as a reliable and responsible supplier of critical minerals globally. The announcement is also a demonstration of how Geoscience Australia continues to deliver on its Strategy 2028 targets.
The Center will be led by CSIRO, with Geoscience Australia and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (ANSTO) as partners. Together, we will unlock new sources of economically viable critical minerals; developing Australian intellectual property in the processing of critical minerals; target technical bottlenecks in strategic supply chains; and stimulate groundbreaking collaborative research.
The 2022 Critical Minerals Strategy Update has the vision of making Australia a key part of meeting growing global demand. Australia is endowed with an extraordinary endowment of essential minerals such as lithium, cobalt and rare earths. Geoscience Australia has a real opportunity at this center to support new discoveries of world-class deposits to meet the rapidly accelerating global demand for critical minerals and realize the full potential of Australia’s critical mineral resources.