The Australian Aluminium Council has requested that bauxite, alumina and aluminium be added to the nation’s list of critical minerals, citing their importance in the energy transition, the narrowness of the current list, and actions taken by international peers.
“To capitalise on the nation’s abundance of these commodities and to position Australia as a supplier of choice, they need to be recognised as critical minerals,” the council’s incoming President Mike Ferraro said in a statement on Friday.
According to the group, Australia leads the world in bauxite production, leads every nation besides China for alumina manufacture, and produces significant volumes of aluminium. The aluminium industry contributed a combined $16.9 billion annually in exports.
The list of 26 critical minerals in the former government’s Critical Minerals Strategy 2022, published last March, saw the addition of high-purity alumina and silicon, both used in the electronics industry.
The list is based on “global technology needs, particularly around electrification, advanced manufacturing and defence”.
According the the AAC, Australia has a “very narrow definition of critical minerals” lacking resources already produced at scale “including bauxite, alumina, aluminium and other major commodities.”
It said peers including Canada, USA and Europe recognised bauxite and aluminium as critical, and doing the same would “ensure [Australia] is optimally placed to capture the increasing demand.
“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,” added Ferraro.
Picture: Yarwun alumina refinery (credit Rio Tinto)