Harrison SPARC, the R&D arm of The Harrison Group, an Australian manufacturing stalwart which helps turn the wheels of the automotive, agricultural, manufacturing, logistics and mining industries at home and globally, will receive $1.9 million from the Federal Government to value-add to Australia’s critical mineral capabilities.
The funding was announced today by Resources Minister Madeline King as part of the Critical Minerals Development Program. A $50 million grant scheme designed to accelerate the development of Australia’s critical minerals sector, it will also support downstream value-add process as outlined in the Federal Government’s Critical Minerals Strategy 2022.
The grant will enable Harrison SPARC to expand the Harrison Group’s chemical manufacturing capabilities. SPARC was started in 2021 to innovate and expand The Harrison Group’s capabilities and offering in the critical infrastructure industries. Sydney-based sister company, Harrison Manufacturing produces high-performance grease, lubricants, oils and imports specialty chemical additives, supplying approximately 50% of domestic market usage. It also exports its know-how and tailor-made lubricant applications to industries such as mining across the global economy.
Harrison Group Director Julie Harrison says the $1.9 million injection will help fast-track a $3.91 million research and
manufacturing project at the company’s HQ in Brookvale, NSW and testing in Kalgoorlie, WA. It is set to improve the refining efficiency and extraction yield of critical minerals such as lithium, cobalt, neodymium and vanadium.
Australia is one of the largest natural reserves of rare earth elements and is the largest supplier of lithium, producing nearly 50% global lithium supply.
“We know Australia has the know-how, the ambition and the ability to become serious value-add players in the critical minerals sector. This injection of funds will help The Harrison Group on its road to helping ensure Australia is at the forefront of this push,” Ms Harrison said.
Already underway in collaboration with Curtin University’s WA School of Mines, Minerals, Energy and Chemical Engineering (WASM), the commercially sensitive project is set to be completed by March 2025. Dr Tony Granville, lead researcher for the grant and Harrison SPARC Innovation Manager says the project is forecast to improve both the mining industry’s output of critical minerals and the sustainability of the sector.
“We believe what we are working on will make mining for critical minerals more sustainable because it will allow greater output with the same input.”
Calling it a potential game changer in the extraction of critical minerals, Dr Granville says the project has the potential to provide $400 million of lithium to the Australian market annually.
“The current rate of extraction of lithium in mining is roughly 85% per tonnage of spodumene ore. We believe our project would bump that figure up to 95%.”