Iron ore remains the Pilbara’s sturdy trunk, but greener roots are starting to emerge – by Mark Foreman (Australian Broadcasting Corp. – February 18, 2023)

Iron ore looks set to continue its surge in 2023 but the rise of green energy is creating massive opportunities for the Pilbara. Rare earth minerals, lithium, wind and solar are just some of the emerging commodities setting the pace in one of WA’s most productive regions.

Pilbara Development Commission chief executive Terry Hill said the changing landscape was exciting for the region. “One of the really significant changes in the region of the last few years is the diversification in the range of exploration and mineral projects,” Mr Hill said. “One of the ones that is going to come through really strongly this year, and will be at the forefront of growth for the next few years is green energy.”

The future is here

Hastings Technology Metals received extended funding from Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility last month for its Yangibana Rare Earths project, which is progressing through its development phase.

Rare earth elements are key components in making batteries for electric vehicles. Demand for EVs has created the opportunity for the Pilbara. Hastings chief executive Alwyn Vorster said the project was of significant value to the region. “We have done a public benefits assessment and it was found that there are significant public benefits to the value of approximately $1.5 billion over the 15-year mine life to the broader community,” Mr Vorster said.

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