Critical minerals projects in Queensland and South Australia will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in federal government loans as part of the Albanese government’s plan for a “future made in Australia”.

Australia’s first high-purity alumina processing facility in Gladstone, central Queensland, has been awarded $400 million in loans through the federal government’s $4 billion Critical Minerals Facility, Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility and Export Finance Australia.

A further $185 million in loans has been conditionally approved to fast track Renascor Resources’ Siviour Graphite Project in South Australia.

Graphite is a key material in batteries, including for smartphones.(Pixabay)

Both projects will process critical minerals used in lithium-ion batteries and other renewable technology.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will make the announcement in Gladstone today.

“We are building a future made in Australia with secure jobs in our regions,” Mr Albanese said.

“Today we are demonstrating what that means here in Gladstone and in South Australia.”

‘Key to building renewable technologies’

The prime minister last week announced plans for a taxpayer-funded incentive scheme for clean energy projects and advanced manufacturing, vowing to introduce a “Future Made in Australia Act” to bring new and existing measures under a single umbrella.

Resources Minister Madeleine King said the new loans would support that goal.

“Australia’s critical minerals and rare earths are key to building renewable technologies such as solar panels, batteries and wind farms, as well as defence and medical technologies,” she said.

“The investments announced today help create a new industry in Australia, supporting local jobs and economic development, and building the bedrock of a future made in Australia.

“The road to net zero runs through Australia’s resources sector.

“Gladstone is a city of great importance to the economic strength of northern Queensland and to the country and this project will put the city at the forefront of Australia’s critical minerals industry.”

The Queensland government has already provided more than $51 million in funding for the project.

Developed by Australian company Alpha HPA, it is expected to create 490 jobs during its construction phase and more than 200 ongoing roles.

Queensland Premier Steven Miles said the announcement demonstrated confidence in the state.

“Queensland is truly the place to invest and this project delivers more clean economy jobs in central Queensland processing the critical minerals needed for LEDs, semiconductors and batteries.”

The South Australian graphite project is expected to create 375 construction jobs and 145 ongoing jobs over its two phases on the Eyre peninsula and near Port Adelaide.

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