Gov’t says traditional resources critical in manufacturing technologies toward net zero ambition

Image credit: Minister Madeleine King's Twitter

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Madeleine King has outlined the accomplishments and challenges faced by the country’s resources sector, emphasising the importance of traditional resources in manufacturing technologies needed to bring down emissions in Australia.

In a ministerial statement to parliament, the minister cited the unique role of resources such as gas, iron ore, bauxite and coal in the ambition to reach net zero by 2050.

She claimed that while energy storage technologies like batteries and hydroelectricity were being ramped up, gas supported the use of renewable energy to replace thermal coal in electricity systems.

“In order to decarbonise, the world needs our resources industry and our critical minerals,” Minister King said.

She added that Australia has vast reserves of crucial minerals, including silicon, rare earth elements, lithium, and vanadium, all of which are needed to produce clean-energy products like batteries, solar panels, and electric vehicles.

“Unlocking the full potential of our critical minerals endowments is a core part of realising our ambition to be a renewable energy superpower,” King noted.

The minister pointed out that Australia needed to invest in value-adding capabilities, create a pipeline of new projects through exploration, develop a workforce with future-oriented skills, and take advantage of the nation’s top-ranked scientists, mining equipment industry, and technology sector.

Moreover, the industry also needed to make sure it lived up to community expectations by forging true alliances with First Nations people, safeguarding the environment, and fostering a climate at work that values women and places a high priority on occupational safety.

According to Minister King, the resources industry contributes about one-fifth of Australia’s emissions, thus it must do its share if Australia is to fulfil its national targets.

“Australian resource projects are already at the leading edge globally in deploying renewables, electrification, methane abatement technologies and carbon capture and storage,” Minister King said.

Minister King said she would soon release Australia’s new Critical Minerals Strategy, which will help grow the sector and highlight the important role critical minerals can play in the transition to net zero.