Resourceful - features on critical minerals
What is a critical metal
Fashionable as it might be to talk about critical metals in a world migrating towards a clean-energy future it is equally important to ask why some metals are considered critical and others not.
Brief history of critical minerals
They are the very definition of a modern hot commodity. JANE NICHOLLS reports on how governments decide what minerals are added to the critical minerals list, and why it’s a brilliant opportunity for the Australian resources industry.
Certifying future minerals trade
Soon after Russia invaded Ukraine, a team from Everledger—the commercial company that was first to track the world’s diamonds—got together. Over the space of a weekend, they updated their platform to allow their clients to choose to exclude diamonds within their network originating from or passing through Russia. TIM THWAITES reports
Critical minerals for energy transition
CSIRO experts explain the roadblocks, the challenges and the opportunities that Australia’s resources sector will face, in the fast-shifting market for the metals that play a vital role in the worldwide transition to renewable energy. FRAN MOLLOY investigates
Mineral exploration to secure green energy future
Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, estimates more than AUD$5 trillion of metals will be needed by 2050 to construct technologies for the green energy transition. Of that, over half is slated to come from critical minerals. DIANA TAYLOR reports
Value adding to tech metals
Australia has the ingredients to be a leader in the world’s energy transition, but it can also be compared to a well-stocked kitchen in need of a chef with a recipe to combine the raw materials in a practical and profitable way. TIM TREADGOLD reports
Graphite battery anodes
Most of us become familiar with graphite as early as primary school: it’s what you find running through the core of a pencil. This soft, lightweight mineral made of carbon has dozens of other important uses though. It’s a key component of brakes, lubricants, fire retardants, inks, electronics and - most crucially - batteries. RUTH DAWKINS writes
Critical energy metal demand
It's become clear that the global transition to clean energy will need a lot of metal. For example, annual demand for battery metals – like lithium and cobalt – is expected to increase by over 450 per cent by 2050. By JERAD FORD and JIM WEST
New indicator minerals in the nickel hunt
Finding the next Kambalda, home of Australia’s sulfide nickel mining industry, will be a lot harder than the original discovery, but to aid the process a new indicator mineral exploration technique is emerging from CSIRO research. TIM TREADGOLD reports
Securing the mineral supply for batteries
The batteries powering a decarbonised world will need millions of tonnes of minerals to make them, and yet many suitable resources are scarce. Manganese has emerged as a suitable and plentiful battery metal resource, but where are the best fit-for-purpose deposits? CSIRO researchers are working to discover the answers.
Using microbes to mine metals from e-waste
Whether it’s rare earths used in new renewable power and energy storage technologies, certain metals are critical in the transition to a high-tech, low carbon economy. Biomining could help Australia reclaim some of these. MARY-LOU CONSIDINE explores