Industry interest in a new battery metals research centre is gathering steam
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Now that Western Australia has been named the home to a new battery metals research centre, more industry players are expressing their interest in being part of the initiative.
The $135m Future Batteries Industries Cooperative Research Centre (FBI CRC) is located at Curtin University in Perth.
The research partnership of 58 industry, academic and government partners will address industry-identified gaps in the battery industries value chain.
The goal is to expand battery minerals and chemicals production and develop opportunities for manufacturing batteries in Australia.
“It really is an extraordinarily successful CRC and there’s people that didn’t contribute to the actual program who are now coming forward saying ‘oh my god, how can we get involved’,” Western Australian mines minister Bill Johnston told Stockhead on the sidelines of the Latin America Downunder mining conference in Perth.
“So there is an enormous opportunity for continued research and development.”
And researchers are wasting no time in getting started on boosting Australia’s battery metals capability, according to Johnston.
“They’re developing a research program that would be able to deliver research outcomes in a very short period of time,” he said.
“Obviously some of the highly technical investments will take longer to come to fruition, but they’re also trying to identify some research opportunities that might be able to deliver research outcomes within three and six months.
“The point is they’re actually getting on with stuff already.”
On the industry front, the FBI CRC is being backed by big companies like Lynas (ASX:LYC), Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY), BHP (ASX:BHP), Independence Group (ASX:IGO), Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR) and Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS).
Several juniors are also connected to the initiative, including Protean Energy (ASX:POW), Clean TeQ (ASX:CLQ), Kibaran Resources (ASX:KNL), Volt Resources (ASX:VRC), FYI Resources (ASX:FYI), Cobalt Blue (ASX:COB) and Australian Vanadium (ASX:AVL).
Meanwhile, the Western Australian government has also been in talks with federal Labor regarding how the state can participate in the recently announced Australian Future Mines Centre.
Madeleine King, federal shadow minister assisting for resources, announced in March that the new centre would be located in Perth.
“We think there’s plenty of opportunity for cooperation,” Johnston said.
“For example, we’ve offered that we could house the centre at the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.
“We are very keen to be directly involved in supporting that.”
But the state government hasn’t yet worked out how much it can contribute in funding for the Australian Future Mines Centre.