Australian critical minerals projects to grow

An iron ore rock. Image: Kings Access/stock.adobe.com The Department of…


An iron ore rock. Image: Kings Access/stock.adobe.com

The Department of Industry, Science and Resources has released its December 2023 Resources and Energy Quarterly, forecasting strong investment in Australia’s major resource and energy projects despite softening commodity prices.

The December publication forecasted export values to ease to $408 billion in 2023–24 and $348 billion by 2024–25, a decrease from the record $466 billion from 2022–23.

However, the December outlook remains consistent with the September 2023 forecast, which predicted an easing of exports from the 2022–23 high.

Notable points from the December projections include steady global steel output and low Chinese iron ore inventories pushing iron ore prices above $US120 per tonne, uranium prices surging due to supply issues and a rapid expansion of nuclear power, and lithium prices falling further from the peaks of late 2022 due to increased supply and concerns for the electric vehicle production demand.

The government body has also released the 2023 Resources and energy major projects, which is an annual review of major Australian resources and energy projects.

The report found that there are currently 421 projects on Australia’s resources and energy major projects list, an increase from the 393 projects recorded last year.

The value of project completions increased for the third consecutive year, with 29 projects valued at $21 billion achieving commercial production.

The value of committed critical minerals projects increased by 75 per cent increase over the past year, from $6.7 billion in 2022 to $11.8 billion in 2023.

11 critical minerals projects also reached a final investment decision, eight achieved commercial production and six published advanced feasibility studies.

Federal Resources Minister Madeleine King said the strong outlook for critical minerals supports the Federal Government’s strategy to become a major exporter of clean energy by 2030.

“Australia’s resources sector remains the engine room of the nation’s economy,” she said. “Resources are critical not only to our prosperity, but to our commitment to reducing carbon emissions and reaching net-zero.”

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