The NSW government has established a new critical minerals hub to attract foreign investment in high-tech materials

The NSW government has established a new critical minerals hub to attract foreign investment in high-tech materials
The NSW government has established a new critical minerals hub to attract foreign investment in high-tech materials. Photo: Getty Images
  • The NSW government hopes to put Dubbo at the centre of global investment in high-tech resources, with a new “critical minerals hub”.
  • Deputy Premier Paul Toole announced the hub on Monday, along with an all-new state “Critical Minerals and High-Tech Metals Strategy”, aimed at diversifying the state’s books in the face of climate change.
  • The NSW government hopes businesses will have more confidence to head into the region, with other governments around the world doing the same in a bid to curb global dependence on China. 
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

The New South Wales government hopes to put Dubbo at the centre of global investment in high-tech metals and minerals with the establishment of a new “critical minerals hub” charged with mining tech-dependent resources like cobalt, tungsten, and rare earths.

Deputy Premier Paul Toole announced the hub on Monday, along with an all-new state “Critical Minerals and High-Tech Metals Strategy”, which he said would go a long way in diversifying the state’s books in the face of climate change.

“Critical minerals are just that — minerals that are critical to the manufacture of everything from electric vehicles to solar technologies and for which there are no ready substitutes,” Toole told reporters. 

“This strategy delivers a clear vision to provide a key source of economic growth, diversify the NSW royalty base and create the advanced manufacturing jobs of the future in regional NSW.” 

Now Toole has established the hub, he says the strategy will set out to encourage businesses to explore opportunities in mining critical minerals, before moving to “activate industry” through proactively developing supply chains and then finally luring investment.

The NSW government hopes businesses will have more confidence to head into the region and set up shop, as some have done in the Northern Territory, while other governments around the world move to do the same in a bid to curb the world’s dependence on China. 

The European Union was among the more recent to set out with material mining plans, when the European Raw Materials Alliance called on governments and manufacturers to support local mining and processing through a mix of subsidies and sales quotas.

By contrast, the plan in NSW is a little lighter on detail, but will specifically target becoming a “premier destination” for investment in antimony, which is used to produce semiconductors, cobalt, copper, titanium, rare earths, and zirconium projects.

“There is a global race on to locate, develop and establish secure supply chains of these minerals and metals. This strategy will ensure NSW is in the box-seat to meet this demand,” Toole said. 

The NSW government also hopes the new hub in Dubbo will soon be able to serve as an e-waste recycling facility for the eastern states and even parts of the Indo-Pacific. 

“It will build on existing investments at the Parkes Special Activation Precinct as well as the $3 billion investment in Australia’s first Renewable Energy Zone, which is centred around the Dubbo, Wellington and Mudgee regions,” Toole said. 

“This demonstrates the commitment by the NSW Government to support mining and advanced manufacturing as we diversify the State’s economy towards a lower carbon future.”

The state’s plan to build out a local critical resources mining industry is the latest in a flurry of NSW government efforts to put a fortified local tech ecosystem with both software and hardware capabilities at the centre of its post-pandemic growth strategy. 

Just hours earlier, the Perrottet government lauded the opening of the state’s Tech Central Quantum Terminal — an 8,000-square-metre affordable “centralised live collaboration space” for researchers, developers, engineers, and entrepreneurs — where its first tenants were Q-Ctrl, Sydney Quantum Academy, and Quantum Brilliance.

The Quantum Terminal is part of the state government’s broader Tech Central development, which has so far seen spending of $48.2 million.

At the opening, Stuart Ayres, Minister for Trade and Industry, said the NSW government would build on its commitment to the state’s emerging startups with an extra $21 million aimed at offering them affordable accommodation. 

“From December, businesses can apply for rebates on rental and fit-out costs of up to $600,000 a year through the Tech Central Scaleup Accommodation Rebate,” Ayres said.