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.

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…

SkyGuardian scrapped to fund cyber warfare upgrade

The federal government has announced the cancellation of the planned purchase of the SkyGuardian long endurance armed unmanned aerial system (UAS) to allow for a boost to the Australian Defence Force’s cyber capabilities. Defence associate secretary Matt Yannopoulos told Senate estimates that the purchase of the General Atomics MQ-9B SkyGuardian (pictured) under project AIR 7003…

Manufacturing news briefs – stories you might have missed

Frucor Suntory to build $400m factory Beverage manufacturer Frucor Suntory is to build a $400 million facility in Swanbank, Queensland with support from the Queensland government. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said: “The value of attracting this investment to Queensland will have significant benefits for our economic recovery and most importantly, it will create new jobs for…

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…