Sat, 20 Aug 2022

SYDNEY, June 29 (Xinhua) -- An Australian state government is funding the search for new deposits of critical minerals and high-tech metals needed to manufacture batteries and electric vehicles.

The government of the state of New South Wales (NSW) announced on Tuesday it would invest a further 1.5 million Australian dollars (about 1.04 million U.S. dollars) to support surveyors, miners, and processors seeking to uncover the valuable raw materials.

NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole said the funding was part of the New Frontiers Cooperative Drilling Program aimed to strengthen the state's position in the rapidly expanding sector.

"Critical minerals and high-tech metals represent a new frontier for mining in NSW, with the potential to generate thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in investment supporting our regional economies and communities," Toole said.

Stimulating exploration will ensure NSW is prepared for surging demand for critical minerals in the future global economy, and now more explorers than ever before can access the funding, with eligibility to be expanded to include exploration geophysics, he said.

"By encouraging exploration, we are improving our understanding of the state's mineral resources to fully realize its economic potential."

The latest initiative followed the release of the NSW government's budget last week which included 130 million Australian dollars (about 89.78 million U.S. dollars) to the Critical Minerals Activation Fund aimed to bolster mining and processing in the state.

When launching the government's strategy, Toole said the "future global economy and the pathway to lower emissions will be founded on minerals that NSW is rich in, such as cobalt, rare-earth elements and copper."

"We need to move away from a 'dig and ship' model largely reliant on exporting raw materials and look to process these materials onshore and use them to manufacture higher-value products," Toole said.

It means taking a coordinated approach across the critical minerals supply chain, supporting the industry from early-stage exploration, through to end uses in manufacturing and recycling, he added.

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