Development Australia to invest $164m in critical minerals sector By Reuters June 27, 2023 Reuters/Yusuf Ahmad Australia has ramped up funding for critical minerals projects, which are essential to smart technology and clean energy Australia’s resource-rich state of Queensland on Tuesday said it would spend A$245 million ($164 million) to help expand its critical minerals sector, and take steps to lure investments and cut rents on mining exploration leases. Australia has ramped up funding for critical minerals projects, which are essential to smart technology and clean energy. But the minerals are tricky to mine, process and market, which can make it difficult for developers to line up funding. The state will set up a one-stop office called Critical Minerals Queensland to oversee the development of the sector in a state rich in metals including zinc, cobalt and vanadium, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said at a mining conference in the state’s capital, Brisbane. “I want Queensland to be a global leader, supplier and manufacturer of critical minerals and this strategy will help us achieve that,” Palaszczuk said. She estimated the mineral-producing regions in the state’s north alone would be worth about A$500 billion and said the goal of the strategy was to spur processing of minerals in the state, not just mining them. The Australian federal government last week unfurled a strategy that aims to develop Australia into a major producer by 2030 of raw and processed critical minerals. Australia has vast reserves of critical minerals and supplies nearly half of the world’s lithium. It is also a significant producer of rare earths, cobalt, copper and graphite, although those minerals are largely processed in China. BHP CEO Mike Henry, during the mining summit, said Australia’s critical mineral strategy did not need more subsidies, and urged the federal and state governments to hasten project timeframes and make them attractive for investment. He said BHP would not invest further in Queensland, where the government held no consultation before hiking coal royalties last year to the highest of any jurisdiction in the world.