Evaluating Critical Raw Material Supply for Australia’s Defence Sector -Stakeholder Engagement Workshop

Agenda and Venue – Stakeholder Engagement WorkshopJointly Hosted by: Monash University, University of Melbourne and RMIT University

When: 10am-4pm, 15th March 2019

Where – RMIT University City Campus, Melbourne CBD, Garden Building (between Kaleide Theatre (BLD 8) and Bowen St


This workshop will bring together expert stakeholders to begin a dialogue, identify perspectives, and develop an understanding of research needs related to the supply of critical raw materials to Australia’s Defence Sector. Workshop participants will develop a shared understanding of the concept of resource criticality, how this may apply to the defence sector and supply chain participants, and the perspective of various stakeholder groups on related issues. The feedback provided by workshop participants will be essential in defining the nature and direction of future research efforts to evaluate critical raw material supply risks for Australia’s defence sector.

Key topics addressed in the workshop include:

  • Critical raw material risks and evaluation techniques
  • International examples of material criticality assessments
  • Perspectives on critical raw material risks in the Australian economy and defence sector
  • Key perspectives & challenges from your organization or industry sector



The workshop will be held over one-day, with presentations and discussions oriented towards investigating the interrelationships between critical raw material evaluation and the supply security for Australia’s Defence Sector. Recommendations and key feedback from all participants will be the foundation for the methodological development of this research cluster. The number of participants is limited to 50 invited experts working on the above-mentioned themes.

9:30 – 10:00 – Meet and Greet

10:00 – 10:15 – Introduction

10:15 – 12:00 – Presentations – Material Criticality Theory and International Adoption

12:00 – 13:00 – Lunch

13:00 – 14:00 – Presentations – Defence Industry and Supply Chain Perspectives

14:00 – 15:45 – Roundtable Discussion & Feedback Collection

15:45 – 16:00 – Closing statements



‘Criticality’ assessments evaluate the exposure and vulnerability of an actor to potential raw material and mineral supply chain disruptions. Supply chain disruptions are caused by a variety of factors, including potential economic or geopolitical conflicts and may be exacerbated in situations of excessive import dependence from unstable or hostile countries. As a result, it has been speculated that future resource conflicts may not just be associated with fuel resources (e.g. oil, gas), but may also arise from competition and access to strategic, non-fuel minerals and elements (e.g. the rare earth elements) (www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1717152115). In the context of the United States, recent research has developed approaches for early-warning screening of mineral criticality in an attempt to pre-emptively avoid potential supply constraints (https://doi.org/10.1007/s13563-017-0119-6), and there has also been work undertaken by the U.S. Geological Survey to assess mineral criticality risks for the U.S. defence and manufacturing sectors

(https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181021). However, to our knowledge there has been no equivalent assessment of mineral criticality risks for the Australian defence sector.

Criticality assessments may provide a unique perspective of the potential risks and threats associated with the supply and trade of minerals and raw materials. The manufacturing and industrial systems that underpin modern defence capabilities rely on materials and goods produced and imported from foreign countries and companies. As a result, there may be inherent, potentially unrecognised, vulnerabilities present in supply chains that may be impacted upon by economic and geopolitical conflict. This workshop forms part of a project that seeks to provide an analytical framework for evaluating raw material criticality from the perspective of the Australian defence sector.


Further Information and Assistance

Dr Stephen Northey (Monash University) – stephen.northey@monash.eduor

Dr Zhehan Weng (RMIT University) – zhehan.weng@rmit.edu.au



This workshop forms part of a project funded by the Defence Science Institute (DSI) entitled Evaluating Critical Raw Material Supply for Australia’s Defence Sector.

DSI was established in 2010 within the University of Melbourne. DSI is funded jointly by the State Government of Victoria, the Commonwealth Government’s Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group and the University Melbourne, with the aim of harnessing Victoria’s universities to deliver integrated multi-disciplinary solutions for the defence sector.

Download Stakeholder Engagement Workshop – Agenda and Briefing Document

Updated Agenda and Venue – Stakeholder Engagement Workshop