On the heels of a boosted $4 billion for Critical Minerals, Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers has outlined his vision for a green technology and manufacturing future. Australia has a wealth of raw critical minerals buried within, enough to supply the world with half of its total requirements. However, the government is pouring in cash to expand our local manufacturing capability, improving our ability to refine minerals for further use while creating value-added products domestically. 

Chalmers sees this downstream process as vital in Australia’s future as a Critical Minerals provider of choice while also squeezing maximum value from the opportunity. In a keynote address to the Economic and Social Outlook Conference in Melbourne, the Treasurer emphasised the importance of Australia’s place in the Critical Minerals value chain. “Our focus is on the development of industries that diversify our economy and make Australia more competitive in global markets in an enduring and sustainable way,” he said. “Refining and processing critical minerals will allow us to move up and along global supply chains to capture more of the value added.”


The four pillars of the government’s green-tech strategy focus on abundant, cheap, reliable, renewable energy and include:

  • Refining and processing critical minerals
  • Supporting manufacturing of generation and storage technologies, including batteries
  • Producing renewable hydrogen and derivatives like ammonia
  • Forging green metals, including steel.

Fortescue Receives First Leibherr T 264 Haul Truck

Fortescue has taken another step forward to becoming a clean mining and technology company with the arrival of its first Liebherr Haul Truck. Delivered to the Eliwana Pilbara site, the T 264 will operate on diesel initially, with the capacity to house Fortescue’s own battery-electric powerplant moving forward. Fortescue and Liebherr have agreed to a two-year co-development deal as the miner strives to meet its decarbonisation goals while developing clean energy technology for the broader mining industry.

The deal will see 120 of the T 264s delivered by decade’s end.

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Fortescue’s in-house battery package has been developed by its subsidiary Fortescue WAE (Williams Advanced Engineering), formerly the Williams Formula One team. Company CEO Dino Otranto was buoyant about leaping forward with Liebherr.


“Our partnership with Liebherr is a true example of industry collaboration with a shared vision to decarbonise and eliminate emissions,” he said. 

“There will be a phased supply of zero-emission haul trucks from Liebherr, with the first battery-electric production trucks anticipated to arrive at our Pilbara operations in 2026.” 


Leihburr’s Managing Director, Trent Wehr, also discussed the truck’s future-proof design.

“Our T 264 trucks’ ability to integrate future solutions – such as battery technology – while also providing tangible results today demonstrates our commitment to being a reliable partner for our customers well beyond the initial handing over of a machine,” he said.


Lithium is on the Slide – for Now…

After its high-profile takeover bid for Liontown Resources tanked last month, American giant Albermarle has signalled rough waters ahead for lithium miners. The statement came as an oversupply of the critical mineral becomes apparent, and large companies like LG Energy Solution, General Motors and Honda cut back their electric vehicle growth targets.

“In this softer market, we are taking a hard look at the level of our capital expenditure spending and the sequence of our projects,” Albemarle chief financial officer Scott Tozier said.

As lithium prices slump, Albermarle confirmed it was exploring the option to reduce production at the Grenbushes facility in Western Australia. Producing 1.5 million tonnes of concentrated spodumene last year, Greenbushes is Australia’s largest hard-rock lithium mine, part-owned by Albermarle, Tianqi and IGO Limited. The company sounded a warning for all lithium asset holders in the face of low prices and China’s slowing or halting operations.


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