Australia sees lithium exports matching thermal coal by 2028 – by James Fernyhough (Bloomberg News – April 2, 2023)

Australia sees its booming lithium sector matching thermal coal’s importance within five years as the world increasingly shifts from fossil fuels to clean energy.

Exports of the battery metal are seen at A$19 billion ($13 billion) in the year to June 2028, matching the record seen for the current financial year, according to government projections released Monday. Meanwhile, the value of power station coal shipments will drop 71% in the period.

Australia has benefited from the global shock to commodities markets following post-Covid supply bottlenecks and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year. Mineral exports are set to reach a record A$464 billion in the year through June 2023, despite a recent cooling of prices, before plunging to A$289 billion by 2027-28, nearer levels from a decade earlier.

The data show the growing role the metals vital to global electrification, such as lithium and copper, are set to play in Australia, one of the world’s biggest fossil fuel exporters.

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