Canberra is supporting more mining projects as it seeks to accelerate production of metals used in advanced technologies and counter sluggish economic growth.
The Australian is reporting two mines in the arid Pilbara region of Western Australia have been granted Major Project Status, which recognises the strategic significance of a project to Australia.
Granting projects major status helps to fast track their clearances and approvals.
The Australian Vanadium Project owned by Australian Vanadium will develop an open pit mine and plant to process vanadium — a metal on the US critical minerals list and currently in high demand globally — into specialty steel alloys for use in energy storing batteries.
The US has been urging Australia to accelerate rare-earth production and dig up more minerals used in advanced technologies to reduce reliance on Chinese imports.
And the Beyondie Project owned by Kalium Lakes will also establish Australia’s first commercial supply of premium fertiliser sulphate of potash, helping to offset some imports.