Critical Minerals Development Program

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What is the Critical Minerals Development Program?

The Critical Minerals Development Program is an initiative which aims to help progress early to mid-stage critical minerals projects towards financing and production.


Can you beat these companies?

These are the types of companies you will be competing against:

Alpha HPA

Alpha HPA supplies materials to de-carbonise supply chains. It is naturally motivated to de-carbonise its own operations through the use of renewable energy and has committed to sourcing 100% renewable energy for its operations. Alpha HPA has identified a number of downstream production opportunities in the high purity alumina sector, which could be unlocked with larger scale renewable energy generation in central Queensland.

Cobalt Blue

Cobalt Blue is an exploration company focussed on green energy technology and strategic development to upgrade its Mineral Resource at the Broken Hill Cobalt Project. Cobalt is a strategic metal in strong demand for new generation batteries, particularly lithium-ion batteries now being widely used in clean energy systems.

EQ Resources

EQ Resources explores for and produces tungsten, gold, and other mineral resources in Australia. Its flagship property is the Mt Carbine project comprising ML 4867 covering an area of 358.5 hectares and ML 4919 covering an area of 7.891 hectares located in Far North Queensland.

Global Advanced Metals

Global Advanced Metals (GAM) is an integrated supplier of tantalum products. The company produces many forms of tantalum and niobium metals and their alloys, for use in electronics, aerospace, automotive and chemical processing. In WA it processes tantalum raw material at its Greenbushes mine, and in addition, it buys tantalum raw material from conflict-free sources globally.


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How to get the Critical Minerals Development Program

In order to get the grant you will need to focus on how:

  • Supply Chain – the minerals feed into a critically important supply chain (ie strategically important technologies, such as lithium-ion batteries, rare earth element magnets, semiconductors, high end communication technology, defence applications, biomedical products)
  • Demand – the ouput is significant relative to global demand
  • Disruption – the existing supply chain is concentrated and at risk of disruption, and/or
  • Partnerships – the project is likely to be of interest to Australia’s international partners
  • Net Zero – the project will contribute to the global transition to net-zero emissions by 2050
  • Jobs – the project will create jobs and investment
  • Commerciality – the project has comparative advantages which position it to be commercially competitive (i.e. lower costs of production, higher grade ore)
  • Progress – the project is actively being progressed
  • Track Record – you have adequare experience in managing similar projects
  • Team – your team has the expertise and capacity to deliver the project
  • Resources – you plan to access any finance, infrastructure, capital equipment, technology
  • Project Plan – your scope and timeframes will be met
  • Regulations – you plan to achieve regulatory approvals
  • Equality – you plan to support workplace gender equality and First Nations engagement
  • Grant – how the grant will impact the project



The Critical Minerals Development Program will provide up to $50 million in grants to support projects that will strengthen Australia’s sovereign capabilities in critical minerals, which are crucial for low-emissions technologies such as electric vehicles, batteries and solar panels, as well as aerospace and defence applications.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Madeleine King said the program would accelerate the development of Australia’s critical minerals sector and would help both Australia and the world to achieve its net-zero commitments.

Grants will support up to half of eligible expenditure on projects that will strengthen global supply chains and help Australia build capacity to process critical minerals into technologies such as lithium-ion batteries, rare earth element magnets and semi-conductors.


Critical Minerals

Critical minerals are listed in the 2022 Critical Minerals Strategy.

High-Purity AluminaGermaniumManganeseTantalum
BerylliumHafniumPlatinum-group elementsTungsten
BismuthHeliumRare-earth elementsVanadium



The objectives of the program are to:

  • support and lower the risk associated with critical development activities to help companies progress towards financing to proceed to production
  • support the global transition to net-zero emissions by 2050 through the development of Australia’s critical mineral resources
  • support economic development and jobs in regional communities
  • support workplace gender equality, opportunities for First Nations people and economic development and jobs in regional communities.

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Critical Minerals Development Program


The grant amount will be up to 50 per cent of eligible project expenditure (grant percentage)

The minimum grant amount is $1 million and the maximum grant amount is $30 million.


Eligible Projects

The program can only accept applications:

  • for projects producing or planning to produce critical mineral(s) as listed in Australia’s Critical Minerals Strategy that are in the early to mid-stages of development; including those activities undertaken post-exploration and before final investment decision
  • where your project activities are substantially undertaken in Australia.

Eligible activities may include:

  • business cases, feasibility studies, technical assessments, flowsheet design, engineering, and technical work for early stage projects
  • pilot and/or demonstration projects and FEED studies for mid-stage projects
  • commercialisation of technology and IP that benefits the sector
  • integrating critical mineral processing technologies that support net-zero emissions by 2050
  • development of downstream manufacturing capability.

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Critical Minerals Development Program

Eligible Applicants

You can apply if you:

  • have an Australian business number (ABN)
  • have an Australian company number (ACN)
  • are registered for the goods and services tax (GST).

You must also be one of the following entities:

  • an entity incorporated in Australia and a trading corporation, where your trading activities:
    • form a sufficiently significant proportion of the corporation’s overall activities as to merit it being described as a trading corporation; or
    • are a substantial and not merely peripheral activity of the corporation
  • an incorporated trustee on behalf of a trust where your trading activities:
    • form a sufficiently significant proportion of the corporation’s overall activities as to merit it being described as a trading corporation; or
    • are a substantial and not merely peripheral activity of the corporation.

You can also apply if you’re an Australian State/Territory Government agency or body and have an ABN.



Applications close 20 February 2023.


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More Information

Latest News

This week Prime Minister Anthony Albanese emphasised the need for Australia to capitalise on its wealth of access to these resources and to move along the critical minerals value chain in order to better compete globally.

Australia has a direct interest in making more things here and improving its sovereign capability through the National Reconstruction Fund, which provides financing for Australian-based businesses to invest and value-add.

Critical minerals include rare earths, a group of 15 metals used in everyday essentials. Australia has the world’s largest resource of rutile, zircon and tantalum, and is in the top five globally for antimony, cobalt, lithium, manganese ore, niobium, tungsten and vanadium. However, three-quarters of the world’s rare earths are processed in China, and Australia typically just ships these resources overseas for value to be added. Gemaker managing director Natalie Chapman has been involved in the rare earths industry for 15 years, helping research organisations and Australian businesses to get their new technologies, products and services out of the lab and into use.



The Australian Government has committed $50 million to the critical minerals industry, leveraging over $143 million in private sector co-investment.

Six successful projects were announced on 16 September 2022, which targeted projects of strategic significance to develop new supply chains.

The grant recipients are:

  • Alpha HPA Ltd
  • Cobalt Blue Holdings
  • EQ Resources Ltd
  • Global Advanced Metals Pty Ltd
  • Lava Blue
  • Mineral Commodities Ltd.

Grant recipients will provide at least half of the funds for project activities and receive government funding for the rest. Their activities include feasibility studies, engineering design work, and building pilot or demonstration facilities to prove the quality of products and help companies sign offtake agreements.

The projects will produce critical minerals such as:

  • cobalt
  • graphite
  • high-purity alumina (HPA)
  • tungsten
  • tantalum
  • vanadium.

Critical minerals embed Australia in strategic supply chains for crucial technologies like:

  • lithium-ion and vanadium flow batteries
  • defence industry technologies
  • advanced medical equipment
  • LED lighting
  • optics technologies.


An Australian-first critical minerals demonstration facility, expanded to include more than just vanadium, will be built in Townsville to unlock Queensland’s next mining and manufacturing boom.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the $75 million facility – more than seven times the original investment – will be located at Cleveland Bay Industrial Park between the existing Sun Metals zinc refinery and Glencore Copper refinery.

Queensland’s new vanadium processing facility will be able to process vanadium, a key component of large-scale batteries. The facility will also be expanded allowing for a range of critical minerals like cobalt and rare earth elements to be processed. It will create jobs not just in mining but in processing and manufacturing.


Latest News

The project aims to establish Australia’s first Precursor Cathode Active Material manufacturing plant in Kwinana, Western Australia. The plant will enable Australia to capture more of the battery value chain and directly sell the critical mineral product to manufacturers in the European Union and India.

The Dubbo Project involves mining, separation, refining, and production facilities for critical minerals such as neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium, terbium, zirconium, niobium, and hafnium. The project will support engineering and design works associated with these facilities.

The Integrated Battery Material Facility in Kwinana, Western Australia, aims to produce high-value nickel-cobalt-manganese precursor cathode active material. The grant will enable IGO to complete piloting, metallurgical test work, feasibility studies, by-product optimization, and detailed engineering for the development of an integrated downstream nickel-cobalt refinery.

The project focuses on testing and scaling up a novel flotation separation additive that increases the recovery of critical minerals such as lithium, cobalt, and vanadium by 50% without increasing carbon emissions or environmental impacts.

This project aims to establish a world-first facility for the production of ferrotungsten powders used in advanced manufacturing for aerospace, medical, energy, and defense products. Currently, there are no metal powder producers for ferrotungsten.

The project aims to commercialize CSIRO-patented technology for clean extraction of magnesium metal and establish a Magnesium Refinery Pilot Plant in Collie, Western Australia.

The funding will support the engineering and design for phase 1 of a full-scale refinery at the Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub. The project focuses on cobalt and HPA (high-purity alumina) production, strengthening Australia’s position as a leading manufacturer in battery chemicals.

The project involves establishing a graphite qualification facility in Lucas Heights, New South Wales. The facility will demonstrate EcoGraf’s sustainable hydrofluoric acid-free graphite refining process.

The project, known as the WA Mine to Market Battery Graphite Materials Project, aims to process graphite from concentrate into battery anode material for use in low emissions technology applications, particularly batteries.

The grant supports plans to extract cobalt from mine waste by treating tailings from Ernest Henry Operations.

The project involves a pre-feasibility study for building a solar PV grade quartz sand processing facility and a silicon metal production facility in Townsville, Queensland. The aim is to establish solar PV cell manufacturing.

The Browns Range Heavy Rare Earths Project, located in Halls Creek, Western Australia, aims to produce a Rare Earth Oxide Concentrate for sale to Iluka Resources, the offtake partner.

The project involves test work for the Mount Mulgine Tungsten Project in Western Australia. Key activities include investigating downstream production of Ammonium paratungstate, an important raw material for manufacturing, aerospace, and defence.

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