The Australian Federal Government has broken its silence after releasing a much-awaited report into a “once in a lifetime opportunity” that the $213 billion lithium-ion battery value chain presents to the country with its abundant resources and expertise.
For months, industry groups have been calling on the federal government to take action with Western Australian chief scientist Peter Klinken telling Small Caps earlier this year it would be “tragic” if the nation let this chance slip to boost Australia’s exposure to the value-chain, with the lithium-ion value chain forecast to be worth around $2 trillion by 2025.
Despite Australia hosting most of the resources needed to make the lithium-ion battery, Australia’s mining sector remains a “dig and grow” industry – with the country’s rich battery mineral resources exported overseas for downstream processing and converting into lithium-ion batteries.
As a result, the country captures a meagre 0.53% of the current $213 billion value chain and if action isn’t taken urgently enough, it will lose out on this narrow window of opportunity to secure a substantial slice as the new energy era continues to grow.
The Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) has now released The Lithium-Ion Battery Value Chain – New Economy Opportunities for Australia.
Much of the report draws on similar findings published earlier this year by the Region Development Australia (RDA) and Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC), which urge the federal and state governments to act now so that Australia can capture a slice of the trillion-dollar lithium battery pie in years to come.
Commenting on the report’s debut, the Australian Government’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said the government recognises the “one in a generation opportunity” lithium-ion value chain poses for the country.
“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,” Mr Birmingham said.
“Australia is uniquely blessed with numerous rare earths, that are increasingly important both economically and strategically across the globe. Our ambition is to drive enhanced investment across the value chain of commodities like lithium,” he added.
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