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Mining boom’s economic win hampered by fossil fuel crown

  • August 20 2019
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Mining boom’s economic win hampered by fossil fuel crown

By Cameron Micallef
August 20 2019

Australia’s economy is being driven largely by a mini mining boom, despite renewed concerns around the impact mining has on the environment.

Mining truck

Mining boom’s economic win hampered by fossil fuel crown

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  • August 20 2019
  • Share

Australia’s economy is being driven largely by a mini mining boom, despite renewed concerns around the impact mining has on the environment.

Mining truck

KMPG’s Commodity mini boom fuelling growth into 2020 report said that the Australian mining industry has delivered $285 billion in economic benefits nationally, with the price of iron ore alone expected to comprise $79 billion of this value.

KPMG’s global head of mining, Trevor Hart, has noted a combination of cost and volume as driving Australia’s resource sector boom.

“This is not just a story about higher prices on larger production volumes,” he began. 

“It is accompanied by increasing investment in mining projects in Australia, together with global expansion in exploration activity,” Mr Hart continued. 

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Economy v environment

While past success has been measured against key mine safety, profitability and shareholder returns, KPMG noted future measures of prominence will centre around the reduction of carbon emissions, as well as environmental protection and community contribution.

Mr Hart noted that as ESG becomes increasingly complex, “miners of all sizes must have a clear strategy, with measures that identify success”. 

“Going forward, these measures will be attached to executive remuneration and reported,” he predicted. 

The environment case

The KPMG report came as think tank The Australia Institute labelled Australia as the third-largest fossil fuel exporter in terms of global emissions.

In absolute terms, Australia is the world’s fifth-largest miner of fossil fuels ranking behind China, USA, Russia and Saudi Arabia, but on a per capita basis, Australia is on par with Saudi Arabia, it reported.

The Australia Institute’s climate and energy program director, Richie Merzian, has highlighted that Australia’s large mining operations means its impact is higher than the 1.2 per cent of global emissions reported. 

For every Australian, the country mines 57 tonnes of fossil fuel CO2 per year, with the Australia Institute noting this as 10 times greater than the world average.

“Many argue Australia’s emissions are small on a global scale, but this research shows the complete opposite: our domestic emissions are large and our exported emissions are even larger,” Mr Merzian explained.

Mr Merzian considered that Australia has a unique opportunity to address climate concerns by moving away from carbon exports.

“Beyond the economic and national security self-interest in replacing Australia fossil fuel exports with alternatives, Australia has a profound global obligation to reduce emissions,” he continued. 

Mining boom’s economic win hampered by fossil fuel crown
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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