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Australian mining group pushes government for tax credit as lithium, nickel prices slump

Core Lithium’s Finniss project in northern Australia. Credit: Core Lithium

An Australian mining association has called for a new production tax credit during meetings with senior ministers called as nickel and lithium miners curtail projects and review new mines in response to a global slump in prices.

Miners BHP and Core Lithium are among those mothballing projects or cutting jobs because of a slump in nickel and lithium prices, weighed by subdued electric vehicle demand and an influx of Indonesian nickel supply.

In response, Australia should introduce a 10% production tax credit (PTC) for downstream producers to save jobs and preserve the country’s ambitions of becoming a critical minerals powerhouse, Neil van Drunen, acting CEO of the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) said in a statement on Thursday.

Van Drunen made the request during a roundtable with miners and their associations organised by Federal Resources Minister Madeleine King and her state counterpart in Western Australia, the heartland of the country’s mining industry.

“Nothing was off the table in discussions today,” Van Drunen said in a statement. “Obviously, there is no silver bullet, and it will take a combination of initiatives to find a path forward.”

Van Drunen said a PTC could be in place for the next federal budget in May and “would send a strong message of support to industry, investors and global markets”.

In announcing the roundtable on Monday, King said the government supported the sector and she was determined to ensure Australian miners could compete with cheaper but lower-grade minerals produced in less environmentally friendly ways overseas.

AMEC on Thursday also recommended government defer royalties, provide funding for shared infrastructure and reform the environmental approval process, among other changes.

(By Lewis Jackson; Editing by Mark Potter)