Gold and battery metals drive 20% increase in resources projects in Australia

The number of major resources and energy projects in Australia rose by 19% to 335 over the 12 months ending October, with miners focusing on development opportunities in the lucrative gold and battery metals sectors.

Australia’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources published the figures in a fresh report, which also revealed that the value of committed projects increased by 30% to A$39 billion in the year-long period.

The government report noted that the value of gold projects rose by 33% as gold prices reached record highs during 2020, while battery metals projects increased in value by 7% based on expectations of an imminent demand surge for electric vehicles.

“It is now clear that commodity investment has turned a corner, with a new investment cycle emerging amid a surge in technological change and shifts in the global economy,” said the department in a media release.

Australia’s burgeoning ‘battery commodity’ space is valued at over $26 billion, with around 60 projects comprising of mostly lithium, nickel, cobalt and rare earths projects. The rising interest in battery metals has led to discussions over investment in domestic processing facilities.

However, fossil fuels still account for around 60% of the investment pipeline in the sector, although the investment climate for coal projects continues to weaken in the face of rising climate concerns over the polluting fuel.