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Plan of Action further boost to WA’s critical minerals sector

Today’s signing of a Plan of Action with Indonesia to maximise opportunities in value-added critical minerals and battery industries is another step in strengthening WA’s role in the global transition to net zero.

WA Premier Roger Cook signed the plan to support the Memorandum of Understanding that was established with the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) earlier this year.

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia’s (CME) Chief Executive Rebecca Tomkinson said “The synergies between economic development strategies in Indonesia and those in Western Australia present important opportunities for closer cooperation. 

“For example, Indonesia’s industrial down-streaming economic strategy unveiled in August 2021, includes the development of further manufacturing, processing and refining capability to convert locally sourced raw materials (e.g. nickel, bauxite, gold and copper) to semi-finished or finished goods exports, particularly those related to critical and battery minerals.

“Considering the manufacturing sector makes up the largest value of exported goods from Indonesia (representing 71.65 per cent of total export value for January to July 2022 in USD), opportunities may exist for WA to supply critical inputs or secure outputs from the Indonesian market for the down-stream minerals processing and/or manufacturing sectors.

“This will be particularly relevant if Indonesia realises its ambitions to build a Green Industrial Park which will use new renewable energy or green energy to produce green products, and provide opportunities for Western Australian businesses to further decarbonise their supply chains.”

The Indonesian labour market also presents opportunities to engage on skills, and build on existing efforts of Australian mining contracting companies operating in Indonesia to support local training and employment opportunities. Ms Tomkinson said the CME made a submission in late 2022 to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Western Australia’s Bilateral Trade Relationship with The Republic of Indonesia which called on the Government to facilitate opportunities for Western Australia to supply critical inputs or secure appropriate outputs from Indonesian market for the manufacturing and minerals processing market.

In addition, CME released its Critical Minerals Position Paper last month, which outlined the specific opportunities for Western Australia as well as the challenges we face and how they could be addressed, as demand for critical minerals continues to surge in the race to decarbonisation.

“Western Australia is already a world leading jurisdiction for the upstream production and refining of critical and battery minerals globally, a factor that will continue to increase in importance to our nation’s trade partners, such as Indonesia,” Ms Tomkinson said.

“There is an enormous opportunity for WA to have a world-leading, sustainable, value-adding critical minerals sector, but the window to capitalise on global critical minerals demands unlock the state’s potential as a major participant in the supply chain is narrow. We must capitalise on the opportunities in front of us right now.”

Media contact: Fraser Beattie