New strategy to transform Australia into world powerhouse in lithium-ion battery manufacturing

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The Australian Government has launched a new strategy aimed at unlocking the country’s potential to become a lithium-ion battery manufacturing powerhouse.

In launching Austrade’s new Lithium-Ion Battery Value Chain: New Economy Opportunities for Australia strategy, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said Australia was ‘uniquely blessed with numerous rare earths’ to  capitalise on opportunities presented in this emerging market.

“Lithium-ion battery technology has enabled the mobile device revolution and is driving innovation and a global shift in energy storage solutions,” Minister Birmingham said.

“With growing global demand for lithium-ion batteries, this report recognises that Australia has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform into a major processing, manufacturing and trading hub for lithium-ion batteries.

“At the moment Australia produces about half of the world’s lithium, but once it’s mined out of the ground, it’s shipped offshore, with all of the value-creation activities such as processing and battery manufacturing occurring overseas.”

He said the report also highlighted the need for enhanced investment across the value chain of commodities like lithium.

“Now is the time to accelerate the development of a high-tech lithium manufacturing sector in our own backyard,” Mr Birmingham continued.

“Through Austrade’s Resources team we are ramping up our activities overseas to attract investment and highlight our significant comparative advantage such as our strong economic conditions, skilled workforce and well-established resources infrastructure network.”

Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan said Australia’s vast natural resources, coupled with the right policies, would propel the country further up the value chain to become the world’s leading supplier of high grade lithium components including ion-batteries.

“As the world’s largest producer of lithium and with mineral reserves covering 90 per cent of the elements required in lithium-ion battery production, we have an enormous opportunity to leverage off this rapidly-growing industry,” Minister Canavan said.

“Our Resources 2030 Taskforce report highlights the importance of developing new strategies to develop competitive downstream industries, including value-adding for prospective battery and critical-minerals industries.”

“It is a roadmap for how we can put Australia in the best position to make the most of investments in the lithium supply chain.”

Lithium prices have tripled since 2010 and global battery consumption is expected to increase five-fold in the next 10 years, driven by a global shift to electric vehicles and off-grid storage to support renewable energy development.

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