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Australia has a chance to boost its economy by US$5.6 billion (AUS$7.4 billion) and become a leading player in battery chemistry and technology if it expands its raw materials-focused industry into a diversified sector encompassing the entire battery cell value chain, a new report showed on Thursday.
If Australia, a major provider of critical energy transition metals, builds on its currently mining-focused industry to include raw materials processing and battery manufacturing, it could nearly double the value of the battery industry for its economy and job creation, according to the report prepared by Accenture for the Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre (FBICRC).
Currently, Australia’s battery industry, mainly focused on mining raw materials, is contributing US$985 million (AUS$1.3 billion) to its economy and supports 6,000 jobs. Should Australia stay focused on mining raw materials only, the gross value added for the economy could reach US$3.1 billion (AUS$4.1 billion) in 2030. But if the country diversifies into the downstream battery business, the contribution to the economy would rise to US$5.6 billion at the end of this decade, the report found.
“Currently, Australia is the dominant player in the mining of battery materials – with around half the global lithium market and a leading role in other key metals. Beyond this point, China overshadows at almost every point along the chain,” according to Accenture.
Global battery demand is expected to grow at least nine times over the next decade, and material for these batteries is already in tight supply even today. And much of the supply currently comes from China. Australia, then, has the opportunity to become the answer to the concerns of Western nations that the battery technology supporting the roll-out of electric vehicles (EVs) and renewable electricity generation is predominantly in the hands of China, the report noted.
“We are shining a light on the different segments of an industry in which Australia can be a leader, and there is substantial economic value to gain if we capture the opportunity,” said Stedman Ellis, CEO of the Future Battery Industries CRC.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.