The public inquiry into the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) in Australia has heard that the mining sector and the health of Australians would benefit if there were more of them in the market. During the inquiry's second hearing on Friday in Canberra, Doctors for the Environment Australia, the Pilbara Metals Group, and the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) gave evidence to the committee. In a report produced by the AMEC, it was estimated that the lithium value chain -- which includes raw materials through to cells and battery packs -- could increase from $165 billion to $2 trillion by 2025 if more EVs were to be introduced down under. The chief executive of AMEC Warren Pearce said that rather than just exporting lithium, Australia should also focus on processing the minerals and manufacturing electric vehicle batteries, according to the ABC. AMEC says that Western Australia alone mines 60 percent of the world's supply of lithium used for the production of EV batteries.
Several environmental activists have launched a protest outside the parliament of Queensland state, Australia on Monday, criticizing the government's approval to grant three mining leases to India's Adani Enterprises Ltd. The conglomerate received a nod from the state government for the estimated 10 billion Australian dollars ( 7.7 billion) Carmichael coal project Sunday after years of delays over environmental concerns. Environmentalists have been fighting against Adani's project, saying it could lead to loss of habitat for indigenous fauna due to port dredging and shipping, as well as climate change caused by using coal from the mine. The approval also coincides with extensive coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef due to climate change. "This mine means that Pacific islands will be submerged with the amount of carbon emissions produced from it," nonprofit 350 Pacific's Lisa Jameson told SBS, a local news network.
Barnaby Joyce says coal-fired power needs to remain in Australia's energy mix for the foreseeable future and he has not ruled out the Turnbull government either indemnifying or funding a new power plant. In an interview with the ABC on Sunday morning as the government is considering its response to the Finkel review of the national electricity market, the deputy prime minster and Nationals leader said if coal was phased out "then your TVs should go dark and the lights go out". Australia should look to refurbishing coal-fired power stations nearing the end of their life, he said, and if there was a proposal in Queensland to construct new plants then "we wouldn't rule out discussions" about Canberra indemnifying or financing the plant. "We're not going to rule ourselves into something but I'm not going to rule it out because to do so would be to fall into the alternate church where somehow we're going to keep poor people in power without having the capacity to actually deliver the power to them and we're just not going to do that," Joyce said. But during a separate television interview on Sunday morning, the energy minister Josh Frydenberg declined to support government funding for a new coal fired power station.
For the residents living near the site of South Australia's demolished coal-fired power plant, the coming months could be their third straight summer of dust. A flawed rehabilitation of an ash dam has led to potentially hazardous particles being blown across Port Augusta and its 14,000 residents for the last two years. Occasionally as she stands on her front veranda on windy days she can watch the sky disappear due to dust. "I've been out there and you can't see the hills," she said, nodding to the Flinders Ranges looming in the distance. "You put a sheet out on the line and it just turns black."
Glencore's multibillion-dollar Wandoan coalmine proposal has been granted mining leases years after it was shelved amid falling commodity prices and a ramped-up global response to climate change. On Tuesday Queensland's natural resources and mines minister, Dr Anthony Lynham, approved three 27-year leases covering 30,000 hectares for the first stage of its $7bn mine near Roma. Doubts about the future of the Wandoan mine had lingered since 2012, amid falling thermal coal prices and a poor market outlook. The approval has enraged environmental groups, who say the government is prioritising a flailing coal industry over communities and putting the state's agricultural industry at further risk. "For many years local farmers have been fighting this coalmine," an Australian Conservation Foundation spokesman, Jason Lyddieth, said on Wednesday.