Posted January 08, 2019 09:03:24 A metal processing facility in the Piedmont could be the future of Australia’s aluminium and nickel production.
In a bid to revive the sector and meet demand in Asia, the Federal Government has announced a $6.2 billion grant to build and operate the world’s first aluminium and metal processing plants.
The government announced $4.6 billion in grants for the projects, which will involve an initial investment of $1.3 billion.
Firms will have to start in the country’s south-west and have the option of hiring workers from overseas.
They will be able to create and operate their own processes and employ up to 200 workers, according to the Australian Mining Association.
It comes amid an economic slowdown in the iron ore sector.
Australia’s economy contracted by 0.1 per cent in the July quarter to a seasonally adjusted annual growth rate of 0.3 per cent, according a report by Deloitte.
This followed an economic downturn of 0,4 per cent recorded in the June quarter, and a 0.6 per cent contraction in the May quarter.
Iron ore is Australia’s third-largest export, behind coal and gas.
At the moment, the Government says it is looking at the feasibility of bringing the first aluminium processing plant into operation by 2025.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the grant would allow a company to invest in a technology-driven approach to making the products in the north-west.
“We need to get back to what made Australia great and what made us the great country that we are, to do the right thing for our economy,” he said.
Coal is a major source of electricity for the nation, and Mr Turnbull said that could be improved if a metal plant were built.
“[We need] to get rid of coal, because it’s been the backbone of our economy for the last 50 years, and the fact that it is a finite resource, that means we can’t use it all, it will become a fossil fuel,” he told ABC radio.
Mr Turnbull said he was “really impressed” with the Government’s commitment to the industry.
He said the project would bring new jobs to the area and improve local communities.
“The industry is a fantastic and important industry, but we need to do a lot more than just look at the steel, the aluminium, the copper,” he added.
Labor’s Andrew Leigh said the announcement was “an important step forward” in the fight against climate change.
“It is encouraging to see the Federal government taking action to tackle climate change and this grant will provide a significant boost to the aluminium industry,” he wrote on Twitter.
Federal Labor says aluminium industry will be a “win-win” for people, environment, economy.
Read more about Australia’s mining industry here: