Australian PM announces loans for critical minerals projects

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The Australian government will provide loans worth more than half a billion Australian dollars to critical minerals projects in a bid to boost the local manufacturing industry. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Trade Minister Don Farrell and Resources Minister Madeleine King on Wednesday announced 585 million Australian dollars ($375.6 million) in loans for two critical minerals projects in the states of Queensland and South Australia (SA), Xinhua news agency reported.

The largest loan worth 400 million Australian dollars ($256.8 million) will go towards Australian company Alpha HPA to help it establish Australia’s first high-purity alumina processing facility in Queensland, with the remaining 185 million Australian dollars ($118.8 million) assigned to Renascor Resources to fast-track its plans for a graphite facility in South Australia. Both projects will produce critical minerals that are used in lithium-ion batteries required for electric vehicles and renewable energy technologies.

The announcement came after Albanese earlier in April revealed plans for an interventionist green policy, the Future Made in Australia Act, to boost Australia’s clean energy and advanced manufacturing using direct government support. “We are building a future made in Australia with secure jobs in our regions,” he said in a statement on Wednesday. “The global race for new jobs and new opportunities is on. Our government wants Australia to be in it to win it.”

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The Alpha HPA facility is expected to create 490 jobs during its construction and 200 permanent roles once completed, and stage one of the graphite plant, 150 construction jobs and 125 ongoing roles. The loans will be provided by the government agency Export Finance Australia from the Critical Minerals Facility and Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.