Qld eyes $1.3b lithium-ion battery sector

Queensland could potentially have a battery-making sector worth $1.3 billion that employs more than 9000 workers by 2030, a new report says.

The state government has released a battery industry discussion paper on how Queensland can cash in on global demand for batteries on the back of decarbonisation efforts.

Demand for battery capacity is expected to grow 11 times from 2020 levels to 2045 gigawatt hours by 2030.

Acting Premier Steven Miles visited the construction site of ESI Asia Pacific's lithium-ion plant in Maryborough to launch the report, which he says will give the industry a chance to advise the government on the best way forward.

"We want to know how we can support more projects like this one, so we've facilitated this project in all sorts of different ways through getting utilities and services to land provision of land easements, roads, in conjunction with the council and some support from state government funding," he told reporters.

"So that's an example of how we've been able to support this project.

"The discussion paper is all about finding out what else we need to do. What are the opportunities for Queensland and how do we access those?"

Beyond the mining of graphite, nickel, cobalt, vanadium, aluminium and graphite reserves, the report said Queensland could rival China in some areas of the battery manufacturing chain.

The state has the potential to refine raw materials, make lithium-ion cells, assemble battery packs and recycle batteries.

"The biggest opportunities for Queensland lie at the intersection of the most attractive markets and the areas where Queensland has the strongest capabilities," the discussion paper said.

"The most attractive battery value chain opportunities lie in lithium-ion batteries, which is the dominant technology other than lead-acid batteries."

Given the long lead-in time to develop the ability to manufacture lithium-ion cells, the report said the government should focus on supporting the battery pack assembly industry in the short term.

The state government could co-invest with larger manufacturing firms in the up-front capital costs of battery manufacturing projects, incentivising them to locate in Queensland to accelerate state production capacity.

Departments could prioritise local content when buying batteries for the grid and government transport fleets and the government could develop a Queensland battery brand for local and overseas markets.

The paper suggested the government establish a research and development hub to allow academia and the industry to collaborate and offer battery-specific education courses across VET and university programs.