U.S. draft rules may disqualify Australian critical minerals from IRA subsidies


From pv magazine Australia

New draft rules from the U.S. Department of Energy state that enterprises “owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction” of China, Russia, North Korea or Iran, will not be eligible for subsidies under the nation’s USD 369 billion ($550 billion) IRA, nor the USD 550 billion Infrastructure and Jobs Act.

The upper limit of both direct stakes or “cumulative” investment is 25%, according to the draft guidance.

China is far and away Australia’s biggest trade partner, including for lithium and other critical minerals. China’s dominance in the sector has meant that a number of Australian projects have substantial Chinese ties. These ties come in the form of Chinese project ownership, investment, and off-take agreements.

For instance, Western Australian project Greenbushes, which produces most of Australia’s lithium, is owned by Chinese company Tianqi and U.S. giant Albermarle. Tianqi also holds a majority stake in the Kwinana lithium hydroxide refinery, which produced Australia’s first commercial quantities of battery-grade lithium hydroxide in 2022.

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