The EcoGraf (ASX: EGR) battery anode materials facility in WA and the Goschen zircon and rare earth minerals project in Victoria have been granted Major Project Status by the Federal Government.

Announced in the last 24 hours, the projects are expected to create a total of more than 500 jobs during construction and close to a total of 400 new jobs during operations.

In what is to be the first graphite processing plant outside China, EcoGraf will develop a processing facility to produce high purity spherical graphite for direct supply to battery anode manufacturers in Europe, Asia and America.

This WA project supports the Federal Government’s Critical Minerals Strategy and WA’s Future Battery Industry Strategy and is estimated to create 250 new jobs during construction and up to 65 new jobs during operations.

Federal Industry, Science and Technology Minister Christian Porter says the Federal Government is committed to boosting investment in the country’s critical minerals and manufacturing capability.

“The project will make a high-value contribution to the growth of our critical minerals industry, and open up opportunities for further project developments,” he said.

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Australian-owned VHM Limited is advancing the wholly-owned Goschen project, with plans to develop a mine near Swan Hill in Victoria and a rare earth minerals refinery at an established site in regional South Australia.

The project is expected to create 500 jobs during construction and 300 ongoing jobs over at least 20 years.

Federal Resources, Water and Northern Australia Minister Keith Pitt said the project’s ability to supply high-value separated rare earth products had the potential to advance other manufacturing industries in Australia including transport and defence.

“The rare earths in the Goschen Mine include neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium, which can be used in things such as the production of electric vehicles, generators for wind turbines, and even robotics,” he said.

The Project will develop and export a combination of refined rare earth oxide products (about 3000tpa), mixed heavy rare earth carbonate concentrates (about 14,000 tpa) and zircon and titanium minerals (up to 500,000 tpa).

Companies awarded Major Project Status have a capital investment of over $50m and can access extra support from the Major Projects Facilitation Agency, including having a single entry point for Federal Government approvals, project support and coordination.

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