Top lithium supplier Australia is set to become more
selective about who it lets invest in its growing critical minerals industry,
Treasurer Jim Chalmers said on Friday.
Australia, a major supplier of minerals key to the
energy transition like rare earths, has more to gain by encouraging investment
from allies to build up its minerals processing industry, Chalmers said at a
conference in Sydney.
investment is a good thing when it’s in our national interest,” Chalmers said.
“But as investment interest grows, and as the sources
of that investment interest grow, we’ll need to be more assertive about
encouraging investment that clearly aligns with our national interest in the
Chalmers stopped short of announcing any review of
existing international holdings of operations, after Canada ordered three foreign
firms to divest from its critical minerals sector earlier this month.
The Labor government which took power in May is
buttressing Australia’s policy to build out a critical minerals processing
Federal investment is already helping to construct a
processing plant run by Iluka Resources as part of its A$2 billion critical
Resources Minister Madeleine King in a separate
speech flagged recent developments in Australia’s burgeoning critical minerals
The strategy will provide friendly nations with an
alternative at a time when Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine has underlined the
strategic risks of having a dominant supplier, Chalmers said.
“To put it as simply as I can – our international
friends need to rely on someone, so let’s have them relying on us,” he said.
Australia is revising its critical minerals strategy
and has been positioning itself as a green superpower, backed by its mineral
It signed a Critical Minerals Partnership with Japan
in October and its Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040 will include a
focus on resources, energy and the green economy, Chalmers said.