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Developing Australia’s critical minerals_banner

Developing Australia’s critical minerals and rare earths: implementing the outcomes from the 2023 Darwin Dialogue

By John Coyne and Henry Campbell

Critical minerals and rare earths are the building blocks for emerging and future technologies, inseparable from the supply chains of manufacturing, clean energy production, medical technology, semiconductors, and the defence and aerospace industries. Despite their criticality, their supply chains are exposed to numerous vulnerabilities – threatening the production and development of vital technologies.

This report—based on closed-door, invitation-only discussions at ASPI’s new Darwin Dialogue, a track 1.5 meeting between Australia, Japan and the US—makes 24 recommendations for government and the private sector to support the development of viable, competitive alternative markets that offer products through supply chains secure from domestic policy disruptions and economic coercion.

These recommendations are derived from analysis of the challenges embedded in critical minerals supply chains, including the inability for global production to meet projected demand, and dependency upon China and politically unstable nations as at times near singular sources of production.

Australia’s natural endowments of critical minerals and rare earths provide a unique opportunity to achieve intersecting economic, environmental, and strategic objectives. But, as detailed in this report, effective coordination between Australia’s state, territory and federal governments, mining and industry, and international partners will be pivotal to developing this opportunity. Further still, achieving our critical minerals objectives will require a bold new policy approach from all stakeholders.