Western Australia Launches Strategy Focused on Battery Sector

The Western Australian government has launched a new initiative to turn the Australian state into a “world-leading” exporter of future battery minerals, materials, technologies and expertise.

Dubbed the Western Australian Future Battery Industry Strategy, the government’s newest game plan was created to capitalize on increasing demand for electric vehicles and energy storage systems.

The intention is to make WA a prominent player in the global battery value chain, with one of the first initiatives being to develop and implement an investment attraction strategy. Additionally, the WA government will continue to facilitate new future battery projects in the state, along with lending support through the approvals process.

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“The unprecedented growth of the future battery industry represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Western Australia,” WA Premier Mark McGowan said in a statement.

“Our Future Battery Industry Strategy will drive the development of the Western Australian battery materials industry that will create local jobs, contribute to skills development and economic diversification, and maximise benefits to regional communities.”

Going forward, the government’s next planned steps are to fill current and future skill gaps along with facilitating access to infrastructure and funding for technology small to medium enterprises.

It also intends to explore initiatives for increasing battery uptake throughout WA and around the world, including opportunities through assembly, installation and management of energy storage systems. Alongside those plans, the WA government intends to commit $ 6 million if its successful in hosting the Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre in Perth.

“The Future Battery Industry Strategy signifies the McGowan government’s commitment to establishing a world-leading, sustainable, value-adding battery industry in our State,” Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said in a statement.

“Western Australia has all the battery minerals you need to make batteries and energy technologies, we also have a stable and robust economy with low sovereign-risk, and we’re world-leaders in research and development.”

According to the statement, Western Australia is the world’s largest lithium producer and also holds “substantial” reserves of all battery minerals needed for rechargeable batteries, including nickel, cobalt, manganese and alumina.

A report released by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in November 2018 forecasted gold, lithium and base metals to dominate Australia’s merger and acquisitions scene in 2019. The expectations for lithium came as PwC predicted interest in electric vehicles would underpin demand for the commodity, with offshore companies gunning for high-quality resources and local companies searching for offtake partners.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Olivia Da Silva, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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