Western Australia’s Labor-led McGowan Government announced on Monday the members of its Future Battery Industry taskforce which will seek to grow the state’s future battery industry.
Announced back in early 2019, the Future Battery Industry Strategy was formed as part of the McGowan Government’s plan to develop Western Australia by 2025 into a world leading exporter of future battery minerals, materials, technologies, and expertise.
The strategy seeks to utilise the world’s growing demand for electric vehicles and battery-based energy storage systems for the benefit of Western Australia’s economic growth, diversification, and job growth.
Establishing such a position was backed by the Federal Government which granted $A25 million in funding towards the establishment of a Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre (FBICRC) in Western Australia.
Only a few months later the McGowan Government released a report which showed that Western Australia’s battery minerals industry contributed $A6 billion in export revenue in 2018-19 and a 21% increase in employment.
A subsequent report published in July determined that Western Australia has an opportunity to put itself into a leading position of a $AU136 billion market for lithium-ion batteries by reviving Australia’s manufacturing sector, as against simply relying on exporting minerals to other manufacturing nations.
The assessment commissioned by the Future Batteries Industry Cooperative Research Centre and completed by the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia found that Western Australia has reserves of almost all of the necessary raw materials required to manufacture lithium-ion battery devices, including nickel, lithium and cobalt as well as established capabilities for minerals processing.
Further, the report determined that establishing a strong lithium-ion manufacturing base in Western Australia was both commercially and technically feasible.
“The report demonstrates that Western Australia has the potential to become a major processing, manufacturing and trading hub for battery materials,” WA energy minister Bill Johnston said, speaking in July of 2020.
Fast-forward, then, to Monday, when Johnston revealed the members of the Future Battery Industry Strategy’s Ministerial taskforce which will begin to actively explore local and global opportunities to grow Western Australia’s critical minerals industry.
“The updated Future Battery Industry Strategy will cement WA as a premier provider of minerals and materials, and a leader in technological expertise,” he said.
Industry represented on the Ministerial Taskforce includes miners, unions and chambers of commerce. The full list can be found here.
The Western Australian Government is also continuing its search to attract a global precursor or cathode active materials (CAM) manufacturer to the State, following a $13.2 million commitment announced in the WA Recovery Plan.