Major critical minerals funding unlocks Northern Territory jobs and positions Australia as renewable energy superpower

  • Joint media release with:
  • The Hon Anthony Albanese MP, Prime Minister of Australia
  • Eva Lawler MLA, Northern Territory Chief Minister
  • The Hon Madeleine King, Minister for Resources, Minister for Northern Australia

The Albanese Government will provide up to $840 million (US$550 million) to help deliver Australia's first combined rare earths mine and refinery in the Northern Territory, creating local jobs and securing Australia's position as a renewable energy superpower.

The refinery will create over 300 new jobs across the Northern Territory while also diversifying our critical minerals supply chain. A first of its kind in Australia, the project is an ambitious step forward for our rare earths and critical minerals industry.

This ground-breaking investment will position Australia as a global leader in ethical and sustainable manufacturing of these minerals.

The rare earths mine and refinery will be operated by Australian mineral exploration company Arafura and is located 125 km north of Alice Springs. During construction it will create over 200 jobs, with over 125 full time jobs ongoing, including the company's stated ambition  of securing 20 per cent local Indigenous employment.

Rare earths are used to make powerful magnets, and are an essential component in renewable energy and defence technologies. Electric vehicle motors, wind turbines, robotics and mobile phones are examples of the kinds of technologies that rely on rare earths.

The Government's contribution will unlock further investment from international financiers and commercial banks, highlighting the value placed on this important investment.

This project is possible due to the Albanese Government's commitment to a future made in Australia, which has seen the expansion of the Critical Minerals Facility and the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to a combined $11 billion.

Critical minerals are the building blocks for a clean energy future, and our Government has become a major investor and partner of this important sector, creating jobs and opportunities for more Australians.

Quotes attributable to the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon Anthony Albanese:

"My Government is focussed on a future made in Australia, and this project is an important part of that plan.

"We will deliver critical jobs and economic development in the heart of the Territory and the north.

"This will create local jobs and economic opportunities, helping Australian and Territory companies and workers capture more value from the game-changing critical minerals deposits we have here.

"This project is a major vote of confidence in the Northern Territory, which continues to punch above its weight in global trade."

"The road to net zero runs through Australia's resources sector and the development of our critical minerals sector will play a key role."

Quotes attributable to Minister for Trade and Tourism, Senator the Hon Don Farrell:

"Our Government is committed to unlocking new critical minerals projects to help us become a renewable energy superpower, and create hundreds of local high-paying jobs in the industries of the future.

"We have some of the largest deposits of critical minerals in the world and through this project, we're encouraging more international partners like the Republic of Korea and Germany to invest in Australia and diversify global supply chains."

"International buyers and investors are key to developing our abundant critical minerals opportunities, which is why we are also building strong partnerships with major economies."

Quotes attributable to Minister for Resources and Minister for Northern Australia, the Hon Madeleine King MP:

"Australia's critical minerals will be crucial to the new low-emissions technologies that will help lower emissions and our trading partners to meet their climate goals.

"The combined funding from the Critical Minerals Facility and the NAIF will help Australia build downstream industries and support our goal to become a renewable energy superpower by 2030.

"To meet our net zero targets we will need more mining, not less, to build the solar panels, batteries and wind farms we need to reduce emissions."

Quotes attributable to the NT Chief Minister, Eva Lawler:

"Creating more work opportunities for Territorians now and into the future is the priority of the Territory Labor Government.

"The Commonwealth's commitment for Arafura's rare earths mine and refinery will help us achieve that. It will create approximately 200 jobs during construction, and 125 ongoing local jobs in Central Australia.

"Arafura's project is an example of how this Government is attracting investment into our critical minerals sector that will significantly contribute to the Territory's role in energy transition and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"Backed by record levels of investment into exploration, the mining and processing of critical minerals is a priority opportunity for the Territory to create more work opportunities for Territorians."

Media note: This funding includes around $495 million (US$325 million) under the Australian Government's Critical Minerals Facility, $200 million through the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF), up to $115 million (US$ 75 million) on Export Finance Australia's (EFA) Commercial Account, and a further $30 million in grants.

The Arafura financing package will be provided in both USD and AUD. The total Australian Government financial contribution will be up to USD 550 million, to meet project financing needs. The NAIF will provide AUD 200 million and the Modern Manufacturing Initiative grant for AUD 30 million. Indicative financial contributions announced by Arafura Rare Earths from international partners are approximately USD 550 million. AUD figures in the press release use a 12 month average conversion rate of 1.53.

Media enquiries

  • Minister's office: 02 6277 7420
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555