Australia to become ‘more assertive’ about foreign investment in critical minerals

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“Foreign investment is a good thing when it is in our national interest,” Chalmers said.

“But as investment interest grows, and as the sources of that investment interest grow, we will need to be more confident in encouraging investment that clearly aligns with our longer-term national interests.”

The Labor government, which took power in May, supports Australia’s policy to build a supply chain for critical minerals processing.

Federal investment has already flowed into Iluka Resources’ rare earth processing facility in central Australia. A further A$1 billion ($676 million) is available to “add value” in resources as part of its National Reconstruction Fund, which is also linked to a A$2 billion Critical Minerals Facility.

The strategy will give friendly nations an alternative at a time when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has underscored the strategic risks of having a dominant supplier, Chalmers said.

“To put it as simply as I can – our international friends have to trust someone, so let’s make them trust us,” he said.

Australia is overhauling its critical minerals strategy and has positioned itself as a green superpower, backed by its minerals.

It signed a Critical Minerals Partnership with Japan in October, and its economic strategy for Southeast Asia to 2040 will include a focus on resources, energy and the green economy, Chalmers said.

($1 = 1.4799 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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