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Program

Rapid adoption of new high-tech products and manufacturing processes is changing the demand for high-value, low-volume minerals and creating opportunity for the re-use and recycling of by-products and waste.

Increasing emphasis is being placed on those critical minerals which are subject to high risks of supply, but are irreplaceable inputs for technological and industrial advancements, especially renewable energy systems, electric vehicles, rechargeable batteries, consumer electronics, telecommunications, specialty alloys, and defence technologies.

Given Western Australia is well positioned with its significant reserves of a broad variety of minerals now required globally, the research priority areas in Program 5 are intended to systematically advance knowledge and capability which:

  • create new industries
  • result in increased demand for one or more minerals found in this State
  • develop and demonstrate ethical and sustainable production of minerals, metals and chemicals
  • create premium products which can be marketed and sold to new generations of customers.

In doing so, the research will create new niche markets for minerals and position Western Australia as a global supplier of critical minerals while also creating opportunity for progressive downstream processing activity in the State.

Themes and intended outcomes

Strategic Foresight

A view of potential future uses of Western Australian minerals and clarity on the enablers and inhibitors to diversifying mineral production and increasing the scale of domestic processing activities

Downstream Processing Technology

New processes and novel technologies, and testing scale-up, to:

  • add higher value to low-volume minerals
  • convert mine waste to economic new products

Data Driven Decisions

Assessment of supply and demand-side drivers to develop a more informed understanding of uncertainty in future markets

Energy Utilisation

Lower overall energy costs and reduced carbon footprint from downstream processing through adoption of alternative energy sources

Regulatory Tools and Processes

Evidence-based tools to increase confidence and provide certainty and efficiency in regulatory processes for emerging industries

Safety, Social and Environmental Sustainability

Processes which eliminate exposure to hazards, improve social wellbeing and reduce the environmental footprint resulting from Western Australian minerals

Workforce of the Future

An agile, adaptable and skilled workforce capable of leading and creating new markets for Western Australian raw materials

Read the complete MRIWA Research Priority Plan

Page was last reviewed 7 August 2020

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