WA government looks to bolster battery minerals sector

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While continue to pursue natural gas development and export, Western Australia is looking to increase its capacity to supply the burgeoning battery storage sector. The government is looking to support projects that seek to supply rapidly expanding battery cell producers, primarily located in China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan.

The new funding register, developed by the Department of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation, provides an avenue for future battery industry actors, manufacturers and innovators to seek out state or commonwealth funding and assistance for their projects. Such projects, the McGowan government set out in a statement, “include mining and processing companies, research groups, renewable energy companies, and small to medium enterprises that are involved in the battery value chain.”

The register demonstrates the WA government’s intent to foster the state’s local future battery industry. “The unprecedented growth of the future battery industry represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Western Australia,” Premier McGowan said in a statement. “The Funding Assistance Register recognises several existing funding programs and initiatives of my Government that are applicable to battery industry proponents.”

Many in WA’s resource sector are looking to supply the fast-growing battery sector, in particular lithium ion producers, with minerals and raw materials. WA’s Future Battery Industry is an attempt to support these efforts. “The Future Battery Industry Strategy is helping to develop Western Australia as a globally recognised, leading producer and exporter of future battery materials, technologies and expertise,” Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said.

The mining industry is exceedingly powerful in Western Australia, the state with the least concern for its carbon footprint. However, a smooth transition for Western Australia’s minesfrom non-renewable resources to mineral extraction and processing to supply the renewable energy and energy storage sector could represent an important strategic shift.