A federal- and industry-backed consortium will be established in Western Australia to position the country as “a global leader in the manufacture and supply of batteries.”
The AUD135 million (US$97m) Curtin University-led ‘Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre’ (FBICRC) includes 58 industry, government, and research partners.
The Australian federal government has committed AUD25m to support the FBICRC’s development, following a $28 million commitment from partners. Western Australia’s state government seeded the bid with AUD6m.
“The national consortium aims to co-create the tools and technologies needed to ensure Australia is leading the way in the battery revolution”, said FBICRC chair Tim Shanahan.
“The FBICRC will investigate opportunities for greater efficiencies in the extraction and refining of battery minerals, including facilitating the steps beyond the mining and concentrate production”.
Australia’s lithium exports have risen from AUD117m in 2012 to AUD780m in 2017, and are predicted to rise to AUD1.1bn by 2020.
A 2018 report from Australia’s Association of Mining and Exploration Companies called on the federal government to declare battery minerals processing an industry priority, and use tax breaks and other incentives to entice global industry giants to the country to kick-start a domestic battery industry.