Grants up to $20 million now open for resources technology and minerals processing projects


A third call for grant applications under the federal government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative has been made, this time for Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Processing.

As with the previous two application openings — made last week and the week before, and for medical products and space projects — it has coincided with a release of a roadmap for the sector.

(The Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Processing National Manufacturing road map can be accessed here.)

And as with the previous two openings, they apply only to the integration and translation streams of the MMI, with expressions of interest for the larger collaboration stream to be open for expressions of interest in upcoming months.

The MMI’s total budget is $1.3 billion.

The resources technology sector is one of six priority sectors (depicted in the image) identified by the federal government, with the remaining three — food and beverage, recycling and clean energy, and defence — likely to be released in the next three weeks. 

“The majority of primary ores are shipped overseas for processing,” states the department of industry’s website. 

“This means Australia only gets a small share of the potential benefit. By manufacturing here in Australia, we can increase the benefits to our economy.”

One example of where untapped potential exists is the value chain for lithium batteries

According to one study published by Austrade in late-2018, Australia leads the world in mining lithium, worth a total of $1.13 billion in 2017, but totally missed out on other parts of the global value chain, including battery pack production (estimated at $156 billion), battery cell production ($31.1 billion) and electro-chemical production ($22.1 billion.) Altogether Australia captured only 0.53 per cent of the total value chain at the time.

Grants under the two streams opened today are worth between $1 million and $20 million, covering up to 50 per cent of an eligible project’s total cost.

More information is available here. 

Applications close 1 April 2021 5PM AEDT.

Picture: Department of industry

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