Australian Government funds NT critical minerals facility

Chunks of Petalite, petalite or castorite is an important mineral for obtaining lithium, battery industry, lithium source (critical minerals)
Petalite or castorite is an important mineral for obtaining lithium (Image: Shutterstock)

The federal government will provide up to $840 million in critical minerals funding to help deliver Australia’s first combined rare earths mine and refinery in the Northern Territory.

Related article: Government pledges $2 billion towards critical minerals

A first of its kind in Australia, the refinery will be operated by Australian mineral exploration company Arafura and located 125km north of Alice Springs.

Rare earths are used to make powerful magnets, and are an essential component in renewable energy and defence technologies. Electric vehicle motors, wind turbines, robotics and mobile phones are examples of the kinds of technologies that rely on rare earths.

The government’s contribution will unlock further investment from international financiers and commercial banks, highlighting the value placed on this important investment.

Minister for Resources and Minister for Northern Australia Madeleine King said, “Australia’s critical minerals will be crucial to the new low-emissions technologies that will help lower emissions and our trading partners to meet their climate goals.

“The combined funding from the Critical Minerals Facility and the NAIF will help Australia build downstream industries and support our goal to become a renewable energy superpower by 2030.

Related article: Critical minerals producer urges Australia to ‘think zinc’

“To meet our net zero targets we will need more mining, not less, to build the solar panels, batteries and wind farms we need to reduce emissions.”

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