New critical minerals strategy to promote domestic manufacturing, investment and net zero opportunities
The NSW Government has announced consultations will begin as it develops a new Critical Minerals and High-Tech Metals Strategy.
This strategy is a crucial document that provides the framework for the critical minerals and high-tech metals mining industry. The renewed strategy will provide certainty and direction for the industry as it continues to grow. It will include a sharper focus on domestic manufacturing, skills and training opportunities.
Ensuring a stable supply of critical minerals and high-tech elements is necessary to translate the state’s natural competitive advantage to economic growth and regional employment. Doing so will also safeguard the clean energy supply chain and sovereign capability.
The consultation on the NSW Critical Minerals and High-Tech Metals Strategy will canvass new opportunities to:
- Create more local jobs by encouraging domestic processing and manufacturing of products with significant critical minerals inputs like solar panels.
- Develop skills and training opportunities in the workforce to reinforce the state’s natural competitive advantages and the unique mix of deposits found in the state.
- Further encourage greenfield critical minerals exploration across the state, including through the release of geological survey data.
- Examine the economics of the industry and the best ways to leverage the government’s purchasing power to ensure investment growth.
- Create additional certainty for the industry and support NSW’s strong environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) position.
- Attract investment for innovation, research and development in NSW.
- Entrench NSW’s role as a preferred supplier of critical minerals to global trading partners.
NSW has an abundance of critical minerals and high-tech metals, including 17 of the 26 nationally identified critical minerals.
Resources like copper, silver and scandium are abundant in NSW and are crucial components in the products that will ensure NSW realises its goal of net zero emissions by 2050.
Recognising the crucial role copper and silver play in electrification and decarbonisation, NSW will focus efforts on these commodities as part of the new strategy.
The NSW Government will conduct a series of consultation meetings with key stakeholders, including mining companies, industry representatives, investors and workers.
The consultation period will begin next week with submissions open until Friday 17 November 2023. The government will also host a stakeholder roundtable on the sidelines of the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC), which is being hosted in Sydney for the second time in October 2023.
More information on the critical minerals consultation process will be available on the Mining, Exploration and Geoscience website from next week.
Minister for Natural Resources Courtney Houssos said:
“I’m excited by the opportunities created by critical minerals in NSW. The new strategy will ensure the state is able to best realise the gains of the next mining boom.
“NSW is uniquely positioned to support global supply of critical minerals with our diverse mix of critical mineral and high-tech metal deposits and capacity to promote domestic processing and manufacturing.
“We will establish a clear framework on how the government can support the exploration and mining of critical minerals and high-tech metals in NSW.
“We will consider how boosted skills and training opportunities throughout the state can drive the industry. Critical minerals mining requires a skilled labour force and that means more, high-paying jobs for people in regional NSW.
“Our ability to leverage the state’s natural abundance of materials to create employment opportunities and economic growth will be the best measure of our success.”
CEO of SunDrive solar technology company Vince Allen said:
“NSW has the potential to become a world-leading manufacturer of products that leverage critical minerals and high-tech metals.
“With our breakthrough solar technology, SunDrive believes Australia can become a renewable energy manufacturing superpower.
“By building out a local solar manufacturing industry we can help shape the future of net zero for NSW, Australia, and the world.
"Promoting a strong supply of critical minerals – like the copper at the core of SunDrive’s technology – is crucial to realising this ambition."