CANBERRA – Australia’s government is supporting more mining projects in resource-rich Western Australia state as it seeks to accelerate production of metals used in advanced technologies and counter sluggish economic growth.
Two mines in the arid Pilbara region have been granted Major Project Status, which recognizes the strategic significance of a project to Australia, Industry Minister Karen Andrews said on Friday.
Granting projects major status helps to fast track their clearances and approvals.
The Australian Vanadium Project owned by Australian Vanadium Ltd. will develop an open pit mine and plant to process vanadium – a metal on the United States critical minerals list and currently in high demand globally – into specialty steel alloys for use in energy storing batteries.
The US has been urging Australia to accelerate rare-earth production and dig up more minerals used in advanced technologies to reduce reliance on Chinese imports.
Andrews said the Beyondie Project owned by Kalium Lakes Ltd. will also establish Australia’s first commercial supply of premium fertilizer Sulphate of Potash, helping to offset some imports.
“These products are rare and in high demand, and these projects will generate millions for our economy, create jobs in regional areas and bring important permanent infrastructure investment,” Andrews said.