Why the next mining boom will be driven by Tech Metals
The Australian mining industry is on the verge of a new mining boom based around so-called tech metals.
And as the race cranks up across the nation to find new deposits of rare earths and other metals, industry itself is calling for the development of a value-adding component.
Australia's two largest mineral commodities, iron ore and coal, are shipped offshore in bulk form where other countries, most notably China, value add by using them to manufacture many different products.
These include a lot of imported products Australia buys that are made from the very minerals it exported.
The tech metals complex is made up of rare earths and other minerals and metals that are used in what is referred to as the new economy.
They are essential to making high technology componentry such as mobile phones, solar cells and autonomous vehicles.
They are also used to make the different kinds of batteries needed to store power from renewable sources, and new types of lightweight engines to replace traditional combustion engines.