MELBOURNE, Jan 17 (Reuters) – Australia’s government said on Tuesday it would increase its loan to rare earth developer Hastings Technology Metals and pledged to provide $35 million to other companies developing critical mineral assets, as the country drives to secure its position as a green superpower.

Australia is reviewing its critical minerals strategy, supported by its endowments of minerals vital to the energy transition, including rare earths, lithium, nickel and copper.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said last year the country was looking to develop its critical mineral processing sector and was seeking to attract investment from allies.

The government increased its financial support for Hastings by A$80 million ($56 million) to account for higher costs and recent strength in magnetic rare earth prices, its resources minister said, raising overall support. the company to A$220 million.

Australia’s North Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF) approved an A$140 million loan early last year.

The loan will be used to finance the construction of a rare earth mine, processing plants and associated infrastructure, resources minister Madeleine King said, and will deliver a rare earth carbonate blend.

The Australian government has also published guidelines for A$50 million grants to help develop the critical minerals sector, support downstream processing, create jobs across the Australian region and support global efforts to achieve net zero emissions.

Grants in the range of A$1 million to A$30 million will be made to support projects that will strengthen Australia’s sovereign capabilities in critical minerals, King said in a separate statement. Applications will be open from January 17 to February 20, 2023.

($1 = 1.4335 Australian dollars)

Reporting by Melanie Burton; Edited by Nivedita Bhattacharjee

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