$70m more in MMI grants revealed

Brandon How

Another $70 million in grants committed under the former government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative have been executed, with figures published inclusive of GST.

Arafura Resources is receiving $32.9 million to support development of a rare earth separation plant, while Turbine Sunshine Coast is receiving $36.7 million for a collaborative food and beverage manufacturing precinct.

Eight of the 17 grants committed under the $828 million Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI) collaboration stream have been confirmed now, with five of the contracts having commenced this month.

Artists rendition of Arafura’s Nolans Project Rare Earth Separation Plant. Image: Arafura Resources

Grant amounts published on GrantConnect are inclusive of GST, whereas the initially announced grant amounts listed on business.gov.au are not inclusive of GST. They reflect the same total grant amount.

This leaves eight remaining grant commitments that have yet to be confirmed. The largest grant awarded under the Collaboration Stream, to support a $120 million commitment to Pure Battery Technologies for a precursor cathode active material hub in Western Australia, has been retracted after parties could not agree on a project change.

Arafura’s Nolans Project Rare Earth Separation Plant will include a mine and processing plant for neodymium and praseodymium, a key input to making high powered magnets needed in the electronics, automotive, and other technology industries. The facility is located 135km north of Alice Springs.

The firm initially received a $30 million grant commitment on March 16, 2022 and is also the beneficiary of support from several other government funding programs, including a non-binding letter of support for a $150 million loan through the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.

It has also received $30 million worth of rebates through the research and development tax incentive.

Turbine initially received a $33.4 million commitment on March 23 for its Sunshine Coast-based precinct.

The grant funding will last until June 29, 2026 and will be used to setup a beverage manufacturing and warehousing facility that will include common use infrastructure and establish a research and development centre to foster collaboration between research organisations and industry.

It will also contribute to the creation industry-led training and education opportunities with the University of the Sunshine Coast and TAFE Queensland.

The MMI grant contract supporting Australian Vanadium’s mine and processing plant was also published today. The firm will receive $53.9 million, almost $5 million more than announced by the firm on Tuesday.

The three projects received funding commitments under the Collaboration Stream of the former government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative. The commitments were part of a flurry of announcements ahead of the federal election 2022 but negotiations have been slow.

In January, Industry minister Ed Husic asked for weekly progress reports from the department when it was revealed that none of the collaboration grants had been executed. A review into the integrity of the MMI grant selection process was completed last August, with all applications approved.

Grants, with amounts excluding GST, still to be confirmed include:

  • Plant Proteins – $113 million to establish three plant protein manufacturing facilities in South Australia
  • BlueScope Steel – $55 million for the redevelopment of its advanced manufacturing precinct near Wollongong, New South Wales
  • Boeing – $34 million for the Advanced Defence Aerospace Manufacturing Network consisting of ten small to medium-sized aerospace companies in Brisbane
  • Electro Optic Systems – $23.6 million for the Australian Satellite Manufacturing Hub in Canberra
  • Fleet Space – $20 million for a Space Manufacturing Hub in Adelaide
  • Global Medical Solutions – $23 million for the Australia Precision Medicine Enterprise project
  • Masdar Tribe – $48.2 million for a energy from waste facility in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria
  • Zoetris Australia – $53 million for the Animal Health and Manufacturing Innovation Hub

Editor’s note: This story has been edited to clarify that grant amounts published on GrantConnect are inclusive of GST while those published on business.gov.au are exclusive of GST.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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