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Prime Mover Magazine


Australia to advance EV industry with lithium-ion battery strategy

A new strategy commissioned by the Federal Government will help maximise Australia’s potential as a world powerhouse in lithium-ion battery manufacturing, paving the way for advances in electric vehicle production.

Minister for trade, tourism and investment, Simon Birmingham, launched Austrade’s new strategy, Lithium-Ion Battery Value Chain: New Economy Opportunities for Australia, on 11 December.

He said Australia was well positioned to become a world-leader in this developing market.

“Lithium-ion battery technology has enabled the mobile device revolution and is driving innovation and a global shift in energy storage solutions.

“With growing global demand for lithium-ion batteries, this report recognises that Australia has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform into a major processing, manufacturing and trading hub for lithium-ion batteries,” said Birmingham.

“At the moment Australia produces about half of the world’s lithium, but once it’s mined out of the ground, it’s shipped offshore, with all of the value-creation activities such as processing and battery manufacturing occurring overseas.

“Australia is uniquely blessed with numerous rare earths, that are increasingly important both economically and strategically across the globe. Our ambition is to drive enhanced investment across the value chain of commodities like lithium.

“Now is the time to accelerate the development of a high-tech lithium manufacturing sector in our own backyard. Through Austrade’s Resources team we are ramping up our activities overseas to attract investment and highlight our significant comparative advantage such as our strong economic conditions, skilled workforce and well-established resources infrastructure network,” he said.

Minister for resources and Northern Australia, Matthew Canavan, said it was time Australia took advantage of the booming lithium industry.

“Lithium prices have tripled since 2010 and global battery consumption is predicted to increase five-fold in the next 10 years, driven by a global shift to electric vehicles in some markets and off-grid storage to support renewable energy development.

“As the world’s largest producer of lithium and with mineral reserves covering 90 per cent of the elements required in lithium-ion battery production, we have an enormous opportunity to leverage of this rapidly-growing industry.

“Our Resources 2030 Taskforce report highlights the importance of developing new strategies to develop competitive downstream industries, including value-adding for prospective battery and critical-minerals industries.

“It is a roadmap for how we can put Australia in the best position to make the most of investments in the lithium supply chain.

“With the right policies we can advance our industry further up the value chain to become the world’s leading supplier of high grade lithium components including ion-batteries – creating new jobs and opportunities for Australians,” he said.

Last month, hundreds of new jobs were anticipated as part of a new processing plant approved for Bunbury in the Southwest of Western Australia.

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