WA leads the way on critical minerals

Today’s release of Australia’s Critical Minerals Strategy 2019 is great news for WA, given the State is the world’s largest producer of lithium and the most significant rare earths supplier outside China.

The strategy maps out a vision for Australia as a world leader in exploration, extraction, production and the processing of critical minerals.

CME chief executive Paul Everingham said Western Australia was known for its abundance of lithium, cobalt and rare earths, which were all helping to transition Australia to a lower carbon economy.

“With the shift to cleaner energy sources, there is growing global demand for minerals used in the technologies that help save energy and assist in the production of lower emission and renewable energy,” Mr Everingham said.

“Much has been said about lithium being at the forefront of WA’s latest surge in mining, which is creating hundreds of jobs in both metropolitan and regional areas of the State as well as injecting billions of dollars into the local economy.

“Far rarer is the production of rare earths used in permanent magnet motors in numerous applications including electric vehicles (EV) and wind turbines. 

“Production of rare earths in Australia is limited to the world-scale Mount Weld mine operated by Lynas Corporation in the north-eastern Goldfields, as well as Northern Minerals’ Browns Range heavy rare earths project in the East Kimberley.

“In light of the projected strong growth in demand for products utilising rare earths and the focus from the US, the EU and other key markets on sourcing reliable supplies of these critical minerals, WA is in the box seat to continue to emerge as a global supplier of choice.”

Mr Everingham said CME would continue to work on behalf of its members to ensure governments at all levels put in place policies, strategies and support to keep WA’s mining industry at the forefront of the sector worldwide and generate jobs and investment for WA families and businesses whilst contributing to a lower carbon global future.