Resource Energy Quarterly identifies Australian battery mineral value chain opportunity 

2 October 2018

The September edition of the Commonwealth Government’s Chief Economist Office publication the Resource and Energy Quarterly has identified a once in a generation opportunity for Australia to further downstream value-add battery minerals.

The Quarterly outlines the Government’s forecasts for the future of the resource and energy sector and each quarter includes a special chapter focussed on an area of importance for the national economy.

Global lithium demand is expected to rise from 149,000 tonnes LCE to 1,300,000 tonnes LCE in 2027, with 90% of growth driven by Electric Vehicles (EV).  Australia has structural advantages that benefit from this growth, with locally mined spodumene at a 10-15% cost advantage over brine producers in the process to refine to lithium hydroxide.  By 2019, Australia will account for 80% of the world’s supply from hard rock deposits.

Lithium hydroxide will account for 25% of lithium compounds used in batteries by 2021 and is predicted to rise to over 60% in the coming decade. 
   
“The Chief Economist’s Resource Energy Quarterly has neatly summarised the enormous opportunity faced by Australia in lithium and battery minerals,” said Warren Pearce, Chief Executive Officer, Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC).

“AMEC has been calling for Government leadership and investment attraction to capitalise on the battery minerals opportunity.” 

“The Quarterly identifies that Australia holds a strong geological advantage and suggests we are competitive on electricity and gas as well.”

“Over $3B is committed to the development of lithium mines and there are five refineries in construction.”

“The question is how far down the battery mineral chain will Australia choose to go?” 

“As the Quarterly identifies Government choices and policy will play an important role in the immediate future, the Chief Economist’s Office suggests action is needed in the coming months.  Otherwise, Australia risks missing out on the opportunity to value add to our own minerals,” 

“AMEC and its members are meeting with the Prime Minister and Minister Canavan today and we will be asking for strong leadership from the Federal Government to grasp the battery minerals opportunity,” said Mr Pearce.