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Australia’s Critical Minerals Strategy

Technological change has been driving global demand for a new group of metals, non-metals and mineral elements considered necessary for the economic wellbeing of the world’s major and emerging economies. The importance of rare earth elements and other critical minerals stems from their unique catalytic, metallurgical, nuclear, electrical, magnetic, and luminescent properties. The growing significance of these minerals is demonstrated through their use in the manufacture of mobile phones and computers, flat-screen monitors, wind turbines, electric cars, solar panels, rechargeable batteries, defence industry technology and products, and many other high-tech applications.

As demand for critical minerals grows, there are significant economic opportunities for Australia. We have existing projects and significant geological reserves of minerals deemed critical by other nations, Australia is well placed to capitalise on rising global demand for secure supplies of critical minerals.

The Australian Resources Market:

  • Has the world’s third largest reserves of lithium and is the largest producer of lithium in the world

  • Is ranked sixth in the world for rare earth elements and second for production, yet many of these deposits remain untapped

  • Has large resources of cobalt, manganese, tantalum, tungsten, and zirconium

  • Australia also has world-leading expertise in resource extraction and processing, high-tech engineering, and renewables research

  • Australia is a highly attractive destination for investment, with competitive advantages across the full spectrum of technical, capital allocation, and risk considerations, including political and economic stability, technology, training, research and development, environmental and labour standards, and legal and regulatory certainty

While the market for some critical minerals is relatively mature, other minerals markets remain largely underdeveloped. Australia is moving up the lithium value chain as lithium producers invest in lithium processing. With the right supporting framework, the Government expects cobalt and other critical mineral markets will see a growth in response to increasing global demand. These opportunities are additional to those where Australia is already a leading producer. For example, nickel and aluminium are not on many critical mineral lists; however, they are a major part of lithium-ion batteries and of lightweight metals, respectively. The opportunities for Australian resource producers to supply these expanding markets are likely to also be significant.

Western Australia –  A Global Resources Hub in a Secure Financial & Investment Framework 


In October 2019, Western Australia had 50 per cent ($15 billion) of Australia’s committed resource projects, which underscores the State’s reputation as one of the world’s top-rated jurisdictions for investment attractiveness. In 2019, Western Australia produced 32 per cent of the world’s iron ore. The State also accounted for large shares of the world’s production of garnet (29 per cent), LNG (13 per cent), rare earths (12 per cent), zircon (12 per cent), diamonds (11 per cent), alumina (11 per cent), gold (6 per cent), nickel (6 per cent), illmenite (5 per cent), cobalt (4 per cent) and salt (4 per cent).


Underlining Perth’s growing importance as a world energy leader is its membership as the only Australian city of the World Energy Cities Partnership. As one of 19 globally recognised 'energy cities', the City of Perth is committed to knowledge sharing and partnerships in energy-related activities, as well as exploring opportunities in a range of strategic areas, such as energy-related and environmental technologies.

Perth has become the epicentre for the next technological change in the mining sector, through command and control centres using automation and remote systems to operate equipment more than 1,000 kilometres away. Leaders in the field include BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, FMG and Roy Hill. 

Western Australia’s robust resources sector and associated equipment, technology and services industries have played a key role in the upswing in corporate activity in its capital city, Perth. Despite Perth's smaller population than Sydney or Melbourne, it is the headquarters of 704 of the 2,034  Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) companies. By comparison, Sydney has 681 and Melbourne 391.

A strong financial system coupled with Western Australia’s strategic proximity to the world’s fastest-growing economic regions of Asia and Africa, and its recognition as the top investment jurisdiction for global mining companies, continues to attract leading international commercial banks, financial services providers and consultancies to Perth.

Today, the financial and insurance services sector is the seventh-largest industry in Western Australia, with the resources sector as its prime focus.

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