Australian Critical Materials List

The Australian government has released a new prospectus aimed at highlighting the country's strong position on critical materials supply.

While the term 'critical raw materials' has no universl definition, it is generally used to refer to metals and minerals which are of high economic importance to a particular industry, sector or spatial area and are at risk of supply shortage. Supply risks can be exacerbated by low substitution potential and low recycling rates.

Perceptions of raw material scarcity or 'criticality' are subjective. Nothing is innately critical. The list of metals and minerals that any given country perceives as 'critical' is shaped by context over time. At present, geopolitical tensions, trade wars, and new emerging technologies have a considerable influence on perceptions.

Definitions of criticality are also influenced by an actor's position in the value chain. As a result of geology, countries such as Australia, as well as Canade and China for example, have large mineral endowments of elements widely considered as 'critical', which gives them strategic and comparative advantages. Australia's critical minerals prospectus should be viewed in this context. The country is highlighting that it is open for business to prospective end users of critical materials. This might resonate in regions such as Europe, where the critical materials debate is more focused on import dependence and concerns over security of supply.

Australia's list of 24 critical minerals for 2020 is as follows: antimony, beryllium, bismuth, chromium, cobalt, gallium, germanium, graphite, hafnium, helium, indium, lithium, magnesium, manganese, niobium, PGM's, REE's, rhenium, scandium, tantalum, titanium, tungsten, vanadium, zirconium.

The Autralian government describes these minerals as enablers of high-tech applications used in a variety of sectors of growing economic and stategic importance including renewable energy, aerospace, defence technologies, automotive (e-mobility), telecommunications and agri-tech


Date : 13-11-2020

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