Background: Companies and governments around the world are seeking to secure and diversify their supply chains for critical minerals used in a range of vital technologies, such as renewable energy, medical, defence, telecommunications and aerospace applications. With some of the world’s largest deposits of battery and critical minerals, Western Australia is uniquely positioned to meet these increasing demands.

Interest in Western Australia’s critical minerals industries is supported by the State’s commitment towards clean energy technology, including the creation of a renewable hydrogen industry, and the progress the resources sector is making with respect to decarbonisation. The carbon footprint from the extraction of critical minerals and value-added products is a key consideration of both customers and investors.

In less than a decade, the State has successfully established a multi-billion dollar battery and critical minerals processing industry, which includes global-scale investments in lithium hydroxide, battery-grade nickel sulphate and rare earths processing facilities.

Challenge: A minerals “criticality” has been defined by research institutions and agencies around the world using a range of criteria. These criteria include the rarity, the strategic value and the future demand of each mineral. A review of these criteria and how this might apply to Western Australian resources and strategic needs may give more insights. Researchers and policy makers need to know the importance of future minerals to a future economy.

Output: A review of published schemes which could be used to rate critical mineral importance to a future Western Australian economy. Recommendations of the the most useful of the rating systems and methodologies that could apply to the exploration, research and processing of Western Australian critical minerals.