$16.9 billion p/a opportunity for Australia’s battery sector

Female lab technician in the FBICRC’s Flagship project, the Cathode Precursor Production Pilot Plant in Western Australia (battery opportunity)
FBICRC’s Flagship project, the Cathode Precursor Production Pilot Plant in Western Australia

Australia’s battery opportunity has doubled over the past 18 months due to demand, according to a new report from the Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre (FBICRC).

The report, referenced by Minister for Industry and Science, Hon Ed Husic MP in an address to the National Press Club, reveals the battery industry could provide $16.9 billion per annum in value-add and support 61,400 local jobs by 2030.

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The report, Charging Ahead—Australia’s Battery Powered Future, analysed global and geopolitical influences on the potential growth of Australia’s battery industries, as a major supplier of battery minerals. When implemented, and with the support of the $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund and the $1 billion value add in resources sub-fund, its recommendations, could result in Australia’s battery industry becoming a global leader.

The report, spanning Australia’s resource, energy, industrial, foreign affairs and international trade policies, highlights the impressive growth of Australia’s battery industry, across the supply chain and commercialisation spectrum. It makes key recommendations to harness Australia’s opportunities from the significantly increased and accelerated demand.

FBICRC CEO Shannon O’Rourke welcomed the report findings, saying, “The time to act is now. As our comprehensive report, Charging Ahead—Australia’s Battery Powered Future, has shown the industry is competitive, and under the right policy settings, the Australian battery industry could unlock $16.9 billion in value-add and 61,400 local jobs by 2030.

“In light of recent geopolitical developments, our report has shown Australian policy-makers should explore more aggressive industry policies, target markets that are looking to diversify their supply chains, and partner with geopolitical allies to enable and enhance the potential growth of Australia’s battery industry. The challenge is to help build the Australian manufacturing ecosystem and get it to scale. Measures like the National Reconstruction Fund are essential to give Australian business an opportunity to compete at world scale.

“FBICRC stands ready to provide our research expertise and analysis to support Governments across Australia to leverage our battery industry’s competitive advantage and make the most of the recent and significant global economic, industrial and political shifts.”

Batteries are manufactured through a complex value chain from mining and then refining of raw materials, through to the manufacturing of cells then battery packs, and finally integration and end-of-life.

FBICRC comprehensively assessed the opportunities for Australia’s battery industry to leverage its competitive advantages as a major supplier of battery minerals and expand its role within a growing global industry, finding:

  • The growth of the global battery industry has accelerated rapidly, and the opportunity for Australia is now more than double previous forecasts.
  • Major global economies are now vying for greater shares of the battery value chain, creating opportunities and challenges for Australia’s battery industries.
  • Australia is cost competitive but will need to lean into its comparative advantages of mineral diversity, reliability, security and ESG credentials to capture the opportunity across the value chain.
  • Governments must act quickly and decisively to capture mid and downstream value in the global battery industry.

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To expand its presence across the battery value chain, findings within the report suggest Australia should rapidly pursue substantial policy initiatives to attract global industry investment; consider more aggressive industry policies in the face of increased foreign economic nationalism; reposition the export focus for batteries and battery material supply on countries seeking to diversify their supply chains; and pursue partnerships with geopolitical allies, in order to capitalise on the opportunities at hand.

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