Australia Takes Advantage of Lithium Mining Boom

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Australia is the largest lithium producer in the world, supplying just over half of global supply. The Australian Government has been working internationally through partnerships to take advantage of the lithium mining boom as demand for lithium batteries increases worldwide.

Recent forecasts estimate demand for lithium for electric vehicles alone will grow from 25,000 tonnes in 2020, to 425,000 tonnes in 2030.

The government has been working on ways that Australia can be a part of the supply chains for critical minerals and rare earths.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, “it is a sovereign and strategic priority for Australia to ensure that we are hard-wired into this supply chain around the world. Because these rare earths and critical minerals are what literally pulls together the technology that we will be relying on into the future.”

Karen Andrews Minister for Industry, Science and Technology said, “whilst we are very good at digging the product out of the ground, we ship it overseas, it’s processed overseas in many instances, and we pay an extraordinary amount of money to purchase that material back in a different form, here in Australia.

As a government, we want to change that. We want to do more of the value-add here in Australia.”

$1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy:

This Federal Government initiative is designed to boost the processing of critical minerals needed for batteries, solar panels and wind turbines and build the country’s manufacturing capability and take advantage of the lithium mining boom.

Mr Morrison unveiled the Federal Government’s Technology Investment Roadmap on Thursday as part of its Modern Manufacturing Strategy which aims to leverage Australia’s resources sector to position the country as a world leader in the transition to renewable energy.

The initiative will also assist funding the technology that turns raw materials into value-added lithium products.

Energy Renaissance:

Energy Renaissance will design, manufacture and sell lithium-ion batteries that are safe, affordable, optimised for hot climates and deliver a positive environmental and social impact.

Their first facility is located in Tomago, in the Hunter Region of NSW Renaissance One is Australia’s first advanced manufacturing facility producing Australian-designed battery storage systems.

Energy Renaissance plans to start constructing the $70 million battery plant at Tomago soon with a goal for it to be operational by October 2021.

Energy Renaissance managing director Mark Chilcote said, “Australia is the only country in the world sitting on all the raw materials needed to make lithium-ion batteries and the new roadmap presents an opportunity to position the country at the forefront of an industry rapidly growing in significance and profitability.”

The advantages of lithium batteries manufactured in Australia are;

  • Unprecedented safety
  • Unlimited scalability
  • Onshore shorter delivery times and faster service and support
  • Uniquely optimised for improved performance in warm climates
  • Low cost and high performance

The batteries that come out of that are low cost, they’re extremely safe, but more importantly they’re designed for the hot climates of Australia and South-East Asia.

The manufacturing facility will place Australia in the front of the line for utilising our onshore minerals and resources.

MD Mark Chilcote further stated, “Australia cannot afford to be at the end of a queue for these minerals. There is currently no commercial production of battery-grade materials and chemicals in Australia.”

PM Scott Morrison at Renaissance One site in Tomago, NSW.

Renaissance One:

Energy Renaissance has been working in partnership with the University of Newcastle and the CSIRO on the development of the technology which will be used at the plant.

Mr Morrison said the government was focused on continuing to rebuild and grow the economy with manufacturing playing a key role in the COVID-19 recovery.

“Our economic recovery plan is not just about providing the immediate support as we have over these many difficult months, it’s also about rebuilding. That is going on now, and building for the future. In the Hunter, they’re building the future on this site with lithium-ion batteries,” Mr Morrison said in Tomago on Thursday.

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