Lithium, cobalt and other critical mineral resources will be targeted in the Federal Government’s latest industry founding round – which is now officially open.
According to Geoscience Australia, critical minerals are metals and non-metals that are considered vital for the economic wellbeing of the world’s major and emerging economies, yet whose supply may be at risk due to geological scarcity, geopolitical issues, trade policy or other factors.
Funding applications related to critical minerals projects will, for the first time, be prioritised under Round 7 of the Cooperative Research Centres Project (CRC-P) grants, in which the Government hopes will further develop the industry, drive the nation’s economy and create more jobs.
Up to $20 million will be available for critical minerals applications in this funding round.
The Government has stated that the funding will be available for grants of up to $3 million, over a maximum period of three years.
Aside from applications in the critical minerals field, the round will remain open to all industry sectors.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the grants were part of the Liberal Government’s broader CRC Program.
“CRC-P funded research has supported the commercialisation of technologies, products and services that assist businesses across agriculture, clean technology, infrastructure, IT, artificial intelligence, mining, manufacturing, aerospace and health,” Minister Andrews said.
“Prioritising applications for critical minerals is crucial, as they form a major part of commercial technologies like mobile phone chips and electric vehicles.”
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matthew Canavan also said Australia is well positioned to become a world leader in this developing market.
“Demand for critical minerals such as lithium and rare earths is growing rapidly,” Minister Canavan said.
“Australia is uniquely blessed to have many critical minerals, which are increasingly important both economically and strategically across the globe, including lithium which has tripled in price since 2010 on the back of the battery boom.”
“Without critical minerals, we would not have our smartphones, our laptop computers, solar panels, wind turbines, and electric vehicles – products we rely on heavily but often take for granted,” he commented.
Applications for Round 7 close at 5:00 pm AEDT, 28 March 2019, with funding outcomes expected to be announced in June 2019.
More information on the Cooperative Research Centres Projects Grants can be found here.