Aluminium secures spot on Australia’s Strategic Materials roster

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Australia has officially recognised the critical importance of aluminium in the global transition to a net-zero future by including it in the newly unveiled Strategic Materials List.

In a media release, the Australian Aluminium Council applauded this significant acknowledgment, emphasising that aluminium is and will continue to be one of the most widely used commodities in the pursuit of a sustainable and low-carbon future.

The inclusion of aluminium on the Strategic Materials List aligns Australia with its global counterparts, including Canada, the USA, and Europe, all of whom have identified bauxite (aluminium ore) and aluminium as strategic and critical components.

The World Bank and the International Energy Agency also recognise aluminium as a crucial commodity for clean energy technologies, such as solar panels, batteries, and electric vehicles, as well as for the construction of electricity networks and various strategic applications.

Marghanita Johnson, CEO of the Australian Aluminium Council, expressed satisfaction with the government’s recognition of the integral role that the country’s integrated aluminium value chain plays.

She remarked, “The Council is pleased that the Australian Government has recognised that Australia’s integrated aluminium value chain is important – not only to our domestic needs, but also to meet global demand for aluminium.”

While commending the current recognition, Johnson urged the government to further engage with the aluminium sector in shaping policies across various domains, including resources, climate, energy, industry, environment, and trade.

She emphasised the need for a balanced approach in reforming environmental approvals processes, considering both environmental rigor and the timelines necessary for a smooth transition to a net-zero economy.

“As the Australian Government considers the reform of its environmental approvals processes, it has never been more important to achieve the appropriate balance between the need for environmental rigour with timelines needed for the transition to a net zero economy,” stated Johnson.

“The industry is prepared to play our part, and the Council calls for approvals requirements and timings that reflect the role these Strategic Materials play in helping Australia and the world meet its net-zero ambitions,” she added.

The aluminium industry, comprising bauxite mining, alumina refining, aluminium smelting, and downstream manufacturing, holds the potential to be a central player in Australia’s economy, national security, and the manufacturing of modern technologies.

Johnson highlighted that, with the right policy settings, the industry can continue to provide high-paying jobs for tens of thousands of Australians while meeting domestic needs and supporting international partners in an evolving geopolitical landscape.

The Council recently released a framework outlining the policy settings necessary for the industry’s sustainability.