Australian Aluminium Council calls for inclusion of aluminium in critical minerals list

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Mike Ferraro, chief executive officer and managing director of Alumina and incoming president of the Australian Aluminium Council, is urging the federal government to include bauxite (aluminium ore), alumina, and aluminium to the list of critical minerals. 

In an open letter, Ferraro explained that being one of the most widely used commodities in the world’s clean energy transition, Aluminium needs to be recognised as a critical mineral in order to capitalise on Australia’s abundance of the resource, positioning the country as a supplier of choice. 

Australia currently has a very narrow definition of “critical minerals,” according to the Australian Aluminium Council, as the country does not include resources already being mass-produced within its shores, including bauxite, alumina, aluminium, and other major commodities. This is in contrast to other countries, including those in North America and Europe. 

In a press release today, the council also highlighted that aluminium is recognised by the World Bank and the International Energy Agency as one of the commodities required for both clean energy technologies and the construction of electricity networks. 

“Australia is one of the very few countries that has bauxite mining, alumina refining, aluminium smelting and aluminium extrusion industries, making aluminium one of the few commodities for which the entire value chain from mining to the manufacture of consumer products is represented locally,” Ferraro said. 

“This is a great economic story for Australia in not just extracting minerals but in transforming them to deliver considerable economic value, including a great many jobs.”

The incoming president also noted that in addition to contributing to a decarbonised economy, the aluminium industry is also investing in the transition to net zero by developing new tech that would decarbonise the sector’s processes. 

“The scale of the investment required to decarbonise is substantial and will require input from a range of stakeholders including government. Decarbonising Australia’s electricity supply is the biggest opportunity to support the transition in the next decade.”