THE Australian Government has begun to develop an online portal for assessing the economic and geological potential of a selection of critical minerals.

This builds on last week’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Australia and India on critical minerals, including other collaborations involving the US and Canada.

The Critical Minerals Facilitation Office and Geoscience Australia have partnered to develop the web-based Critical Minerals Portal.

Federal Resources Minister Keith Pitt says this latest collaboration is especially important in the challenging environment COVID-19 has presented to the world.

“Australia has one of the world’s most technically advanced, innovative and efficient resources industries, a skilled workforce, stable investment climate and government incentives,” he said.

“The portal will increase the visibility of our high quality critical mineral resources to international partners around the globe.”

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The Critical Minerals Facilitation Office was created in January 2020 as a central coordination point to grow Australia’s critical minerals sector and position Australia as a reliable, global supplier of critical minerals.

“The [Office] continues to work across government to deliver on its mission, identifying investment, infrastructure and innovation opportunities to grow Australia’s critical minerals sector,” Mr Pitt said.

“The portal will provide a tool for many users from around the world to assess the economic and geological potential of critical mineral resources, highlighting Australia’s significant potential as an investment destination.”

Critical minerals are metals and non-metals used in the manufacture of mobile phones, flat screen monitors, wind turbines, electric cars, solar panels, and other high-tech applications.

These minerals are vulnerable to disruptions in global supply due to geological scarcity, geopolitical issues and trade policy.

Australia has an abundance of critical minerals, which are essential to advanced technology applications for digital communication, clean energy, transport and defence industries.

The minerals ranked as most critical by the US, Japan, Korea and the European Union, including the United Kingdom, are as follows (ranked by Geoscience Australia based on synthesis of individual country rankings):

  • rare-earth elements (REE)
  • gallium (Ga)
  • indium (In)
  • tungsten (W)
  • platinum-group elements (PGE) including platinum (Pt) and palladium (Pd)
  • cobalt (Co)
  • niobium (Nb)
  • magnesium (Mg)
  • molybdenum (Mo)
  • antimony (Sb)
  • lithium (Li)
  • vanadium (V)
  • nickel (Ni)
  • tantalum (Ta)
  • tellurium (Te)
  • chromium (Cr)
  • manganese (Mn)

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