LAUNCESTON, Australia, Aug 11 (Reuters) – One of the refrains of the environmental lobby is that Australia is extremely well-placed to become a renewable energy superpower, and that this will replace the loss of revenue from coal and natural gas exports.
The problem is that only one of the two above assertions is accurate, namely that Australia is in pole position when it comes to many of the minerals that will be critical to the energy transition. These include lithium, where Australia is already the world’s top producer, as well as copper, nickel, zinc and other metals.
Even iron ore can be viewed as vital to moving the world from fossil fuels to renewables, given the essential role of steel in building out electric grids, power networks and wind turbines.
But the idea that Australia can compensate ending the export of coal and liquefied natural gas (LNG) by boosting output of energy transitions metals is somewhat fanciful.