Red-dirt billionaires in race for ‘white gold’ – by Colin Kruger and Simon Johanson (Sydney Morning Herald – October 27, 2023)

Gina Rinehart might be known as a climate sceptic, but Australia’s richest person knows when there is “green” dollars to be made from digging things out of the ground. She is just one of the West Australian mining billionaires who are in a mad scramble for the state’s vast deposits of lithium – the metal dubbed “white gold” due to its market value and silver colour.

Its value lies not in its scarcity, but in the booming demand for the lightest of metals. It is essential for powering the batteries, which are the driving force behind the global electric vehicle wave. Batteries are also the most expensive component of these cars.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese underlined lithium’s importance this week when he announced plans to double the finance available to local exporters of lithium, nickel and other essential elements for batteries and other renewable technologies from $2 billion to $4 billion.

The extra funding for miners and processors should help unlock Australia’s vast reserves of these crucial elements. “My government is committed to transforming Australia into a renewable energy superpower and harnessing the critical minerals we have at home is crucial to achieving this,” Albanese said in Washington.

For the rest of this article: