Mining and Heavy Industries

Reports find major momentum for battery minerals

lithium processing

Up to $26 billion worth of new energy economy projects have been proposed in Queensland, driven by global demand for batteries.

The latest Chief Economist Resources and Energy Quarterly report and Resources and Energy Major Projects report found new energy economy resources – including hydrogen, battery minerals and rare earths projects – have been the big movers in resources and energy nationally over the past year.

Queensland Resources Minister Scott Stewart said the reports’ findings and forecasts dovetailed with the Queensland Government’s draft 30-year Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan for the state’s resources industry.

“The Government identified the growing demand for these new economy minerals several years ago and we continue to drive exploration, investment and downstream processing,” he said.

“These latest reports are further proof that our early work is starting to yield results and the state stands to benefit from growth in these minerals.”

“The resources industry and the growing new economy minerals sector are a key part of our economic recovery from COVID-19.”

The Resources and Energy Quarterly report says aluminium, nickel, zinc and copper are benefiting from the global move to low emission technologies.

Queensland exported almost $8.6 billion worth of aluminium, bauxite, copper and zinc in the 12 months to October 2021.

The Major Projects report notes developments in battery technology and the expected growth in electrical vehicle manufacturing is driving investment in nickel, cobalt, rare earths and lithium.

The report also forecasts a “significant uptick” in resources and energy investment in 2022 and potential for further expansion in subsequent years.

Stewart said the report included hydrogen for the first time and identified seven new energy projects on the books in Queensland – including commercial hydrogen production facilities in Townsville, Gladstone and Bundaberg.

“Our economic recovery plan is about identifying jobs in traditional and emerging industries, including hydrogen and manufacturing,” he said.

“That is why one of the proposed actions in our draft resources industry development plan is to review existing legislation to ensure we are ready for hydrogen and other clean resources to be used in our homes.”

The report also notes high gold prices have driven an increase in reactivated gold mines and exploration expenditure, particularly across the precious and base metals sectors.

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