Canberra’s $1.25 billion backing for rare earths production

By Peter Roberts The federal government has made an unprecedented intervention in private business funding with the approval of a $1.25 billion loan through the Critical Minerals Facility to Australian company Iluka Resources. The massive loan – picking winners on a grand scale – will fund the development of Australis’s first integrated rare earths refinery…

Australia plans to be a big green hydrogen exporter to Asian markets – but they don’t need it

The government aims to create a major green hydrogen export industry, particularly to Japan, for which Australia signed an export deal in January. But as our latest research suggests, the likely scale may well be overstated. We show Japan has more than enough solar and wind energy to be self-sufficient in energy, and does not need to import either fossil fuels or Australian green hydrogen. Indeed, Australia as a “renewable energy superpower” is far from a sure thing.

Today’s federal government cash for industry – $41m for Varley

By Peter Roberts The federal government has continued its all but daily announcements of new defence contracts and grants to manufacturers with the news today that Tomago, NSW engineering group Varley will receive a $41 million contract for deployable military infrastructure. According to a statement from defence minister Peter Dutton: “The contract is part of…

Let’s not waste this emergency – secure our critical mineral supply chains

By Peter Roberts If covid-19 has taught us anything it is that Australia needs to be more self sufficient in what we manufacture onshore and depend less on globalised supply chains that are easily interrupted by accident or design. For advanced nations there is a range of rare earths that are essential to high tech…

Calix and Pilbara Minerals to form lithium JV

Industrial process technology company Calix and Pilbara Minerals will establish a joint venture to potentially develop a demonstration plant to produce lithium phosphate salt to supply battery chemicals manufacturing. This follows positive results from their joint scoping study for a lithium salt production facility using Calix technology at Pilbara’s existing spodumene concentrate plant (pictured) at…

Australian Bushmasters bound for Ukraine

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has agreed to send Australian-made Bushmaster vehicles to Ukraine, after a plea from the nation’s wartime President. Earlier Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy made a speech to federal parliament calling for Australia to send the country weapons systems including the Bushmaster. Speaking through an interpreter the khaki-clad president said some of…