Essay by Eric Worrall
“Everything is now an emergency” – How can governments which declare climate emergencies refuse applications to extract Lithium and other vital minerals from sensitive wilderness areas?
The rush to renewable energy means a new mining boom. But first, Australia needs to make some tough choices
Four Corners / By Angus Grigg, Jeanavive McGregor and Lucy Carter
Electric cars, solar panels, large batteries and wind turbines — the technology needed to go green relies on what can be a dirty industry.
“It’s absolutely ironic, but to save the planet we are going to need more mines,” says Allison Britt, director of mineral resources at government agency Geoscience Australia.
The need for one of the biggest increases in mining the world has ever seen is forcing some tough choices and redrawing old battlelines between environmentalists and miners.
In Tasmania, a mine that’s been leaking contaminated water for the past five years wants permission to expand into a wilderness area because the lead, zinc and copper it produces are vital for solar panels, electric cars and wind turbines.
King Island, famed for its high-end produce and rugged beauty, will soon be home to one of the world’s largest tungsten mines.
Outside Darwin, an open-cut mine that will produce lithium vital for electric car batteries looks to be already impacting local waterways.
“Everything is now an emergency,” says entrepreneur and inventor Saul Griffith, whose advocacy organisation Re-wiring America has advised US politicians and businesses.
“We need to be making wind turbines 10 times as fast as we do. We need to be making solar cells 10 times as fast as we do. We need to be making batteries and electric vehicles 10 times as fast as we do today.”
…Read more: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-05-09/renewable-energy-may-require-australian-mining-boom/101034914
The main beneficiaries of this free for all are mining entrepreneurs, who are rushing to ram through their mine expansion plans and environmental permits with minimal oversight, under the guise of addressing the alleged climate emergency.
Once die hard Environmentalists are now supporting or at least passively accepting new mines and the wholesale destruction of pristine wilderness, to maintain the flow of minerals required to supply their green energy delusions.
How did we get to this point?
In my opinion, it was wind turbines which opened the floodgates. When everyone saw environmentalists passively accepting wind turbines slaughtering thousands of endangered birds, it was obvious that the key to getting environmentalists to roll over for wilderness destruction was their belief in a climate crisis. Now every imaginable act of environmental destruction for profit is being tagged as a vital stepping stone on the path to net zero.
A few net zero supporters have woken up that something is not right, and are demanding a pause, but the majority have yet to notice they have all been owned by the mining industry.
I’ve always said that I’m not worried by the effects of climate change; but I’m seriously worried by what results from the belief that we can stop it. Destroying the planet in order to save it…!
Destroying the planet and the economy by subverting investment to pursue solutions to a problem that doesn’t exist. It’s a result of the the “ends justifies any means” philosophy adopted by the political left to get what they want, especially when they can’t adequately defend what they want in the first place.
My thoughts exactly. As an engineer, I all too often cringe at what the public thinks they want.
The well deserved aphorism comes to mind:
“Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.“
ON Senator Roberts has done his best to inform the parliament about the deceit by the CSIRO and BoM on climate issues in his several inquiries during 2015-16, he knows that the Net zero emissions policies are a cruel mistake for the world and particularly Australia.
He is now being followed by AGW skeptic Senator Canavan also from Queensland, who has come out and said what a crock of shit the NZE really is in the light of the absolute non compliance for the UN alarmist climate policies by China, India Russia etc, plus the recent backsliding on their stupid climate commitments by EU nations due to the real energy crisis there caused by the Ukraine invasion.
The Morrison government in their scientific ignorance on climate and ambivalence about mining plus their infamous pandering to the Greenie vote has finally lost us conservative voters, and may lose the Nationals too if the don’t wake up and repudiate the NZE garbage. They will lose some inner city Liberal wets, supporters the despicable traitor Turnbull, but that’s a bonus as far as we are concerned.
In relation to the mining industry, it reacts to market forces and will do its best to provide sufficient metals and minerals as industry requires, but it will need the concerted efforts of all state and the federal governments to reduce red and green tape that has been slowly strangling exploration and mine development for decades. After all mining is the backbone of our export economy, so if you restrict that, then general prosperity and relatively cheap reliable energy production will fall very quickly. There will be no lucky country in future.
Australians must soon wake up to the global climate scam with its intendant unreliable renewable energy polices, we must stop putting our children through the climate wringer where fear of their future is a dominant culture, shame on you climate alarmists!
Law of unintended consequences seems to rule green world
They say they care about saving the planet:
“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse?
Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?” Maurice Strong May 1990
But obviously they don’t.
I thought Obi-Wan Kenobi was our only hope?
(which is probably more realistic than John Kerry being our only hope)
Maintain Social Distancing, as absolutists Green heads will explode en mass when the reality of “no free lunch” settles in. If you want metals you need holes in the ground. Maybe coal isn’t so bad after all- China, India and now Germany seem to think so.
““Everything is now an emergency” – How can governments which declare climate emergencies refuse applications to extract Lithium and other vital minerals from sensitive wilderness areas?”
They can and no doubt will. Joined-up thinking isn’t a common trait in climate-obsessed politicians.
It’s actually worse than we thought!. Not only is government green lighting a plethora of projects aimed at “future facing metals” , they are funding the companies to develop the resources. There is an avalanche of monies coming from both state and federal government here in Australia in the form of grants, accelerated write off’s and “public – private partnerships ” (read…the tax payer pays). These cover everything from incentivising exploration to R&D. When were the voters asked whether this was a good use of public monies?
The coming election will do precisely nothing to change any of this for the better, rather the opposite I suspect.
Exploration and R&D has been treated the same as it currently is for decades. I was involved in several R&D projects to gain super tax concessions in 2003.
The Minerals Council of Australia estimates that 0.02% of Australia’s land surface is directly impacted by mining.
Mineral exploration and mining is administered by the States & Territories – the Feds have powers over exports.
Greens and anti-mining groups are ever-ready often with assist of the ABC to pile on the misinformation.
So everything old is new again?
Wasn’t it alarm over industrial pollution of waterways and landscapes that started the environmentalism movement?
(that, of course, and the failure of communism as a viable economic / social system)
IMO a false environmental dichotomy. Mining can be done responsibly or irresponsibly. Not that there is no environmental impact; there is but it can be minimized to an extent.
But the greens don’t see it that way. For them the dilemma is ‘real’. Good when that throws sand in their renewable gears.
Once upon a time, I was a member of a ‘Rockhounds’ forum, originally a BB, then a private web site.
One of the members convinced an environmentalist to join the group. Ostensibly so they could see we did not discuss destroying the Earth.
The environmentalist joined to persuade us of our evil ways.
Early on, another member described finding a Topaz crystal with the top exposed above the soil.
Exactly what would the environmentalist, they asked, expect people to do?
The environmentalist waxed poetically and forcefully about that topaz crystal lying there for people to see, until the Earth ended…
Many forum members went up in flames.
That environmentalist never responded nor returned. It was clear to us that they were delusional and completely ignorant of the minerals their civilized life required.
Everything that environmentalist considered “natural” was supposed to remain inviolate and therefore will never perish…
“Everything that environmentalist considered “natural” was supposed to remain inviolate and therefore will never perish…”
Except for landscapes covered with wind turbines and woods stripped in favor of solar farms?
A couple of times a year, I get those useful idiot “clipboard people” at my doorstep to sign petitions against new mines in my state. Since they’re usually college students, they’ll often have a piercing or two on their face. I’ll ask where the metals for those came from. Of course, they don’t know. Then I’ll ask, “Don’t you believe in locally-sourced minerals?”. That usually dumbfounds them.
Now, I add “Don’t you realize that we’re in a “climate crisis”, and need these minerals for solar panels and windmills to replace the fossil fuels that are destroying the planet?” I then point to the south-facing foothills that are protected against development on the other side of the valley, and say “Don’t you think those should be covered with solar panels, and with windmills at the top so that we no longer have to import fossil-fueled electricity from outside of town?
They usually say “Thank you” and walk away at that point.
But how can they reconcile that with their “this is the end of the world as we know it” doom-mongering?
Dude is actually understating things when he says: “We need to be making wind turbines 10 times as fast as we do. We need to be making solar cells 10 times as fast as we do. We need to be making batteries and electric vehicles 10 times as fast as we do today”
They keep claiming that we need to get to net zero…that’s what it would take – and more.
Half the earth will be covered with wind farms, solar plants and battery storage and the other half with the mines to unearth the materials needed to build all that crap.
Destroying the planet to save it. Yea that sounds like a great plan.
The faster you make wind mills and solar panels, the more you need to mine and thus use fossil fuels, like a dog chasing its tail. The greens can not see that, they are so much in denial.
My vision is of most of the populated portions of the US (Florida, Arizona, California, etc) covered in solar panels, with massive wind farms in the interior. No oil means no fertilizer, so ag is dramatically less efficient and everyone except the elites will have to migrate to the interior, where windmills still allow sun shine, to engage in subsistence agriculture. At least there will be lots of bird and bat carcasses to gather each morning for protein, as long as they last.
“ In a windowless conference room in Canary Wharf, dozens of mining executives, bankers and government officials are being promised unique insights into how to profit from “the deep-sea gold rush”. – The Grauniad
Electrification isn’t going to be cheap on any level
As a Mining Exploration Geologist, and also in management thereof, I Know that mines can be designed, permitted, guarded by bonds, constructed, operated, and reclaimed without environmental disasters. OK, some countries don’t care about this, but the global warming crowd will cozy up to anyone producing their raw materials. Disclaimer: I have rejected many projects because where they were located made it close to impossible to mine saftely.
How much of this rush to EV’s using fraudulent climate data is actually a sneaky way to support Israel? Nearly all western nations bow before & worship Israel, so what if the push to EV’s is to deprive ME nations of their main income, sales of oil & NG, so they’ll be seriously weakened, making them easy prey for the Israeli land thieves?
So, getting oil and gas from the North Sea is Israel worship?
What a strange world you live in
It isn’t Israel that is trying to Grab Land…It’s Russia (One of those Oil and Gas producers) that has invaded Ukraine to Grab the Land (entire country)
Mr. James: Israel was in the process of making peace with “ME” nations not named Iran, strengthening those ME nations against their real enemy (Iran), when Trump was removed from office in what history will call “The Brandon Heist.” Those nations, allied with Israel, will prevail, Iran will fall, and Israel will steal nothing. Then you will have to find someone else to hate and lie about, you putz.
Take your Jew Hatred over to The Squad where it belongs.
Comment all in bold eh?
Next time do it in block capitals so we really know you mean it.
Sadly there isn’t an option for you to write in green crayon.
That’s a bit harsh but typical in an ever-increasing ante toward intolerance.
bitter, bitter irony … but sweet, sweet profits …
Wastelands should be exploited by mining them for their natural resources with royalties going to benefit local citizens….then put back into something resembling their natural state when mined out. Most strip mines and oil well leases require this already as a term of receiving the lease, with reclamation bonds required by the developer and placed in the hands of the governing body.
Interestingly, nobody assumes residential lots should have a reclamation bond to return the urban development back to nature….oops, I hope municipal revenuers don’t read WUWT comments…
“return the urban development back to nature”
As most “Greens” voters in Australia tend to be in well to do inner-city suburbs…..
…. that seems the best place to start 🙂
Do the “local citizens” need to contribute anything to earn royalties, or are they just being paid for happening to live near something useful?
Seems like an unusual economic model. In Australia it’s called “sitting down money”.
on king island the locals would be Workers!
in nth aus theyd be aboriginals claiming handouts and extras like vehicles etc and sitting down moaning for more
“…every imaginable act of environmental destruction for profit is being tagged as vital…to net zero.”
You can’t keep a fraud like “climate science” going this long without big money backing it for a big government guaranteed profit. For comparison, even Big Pharma could keep COVID hysteria going for only 2 years. “Climate Science” is a global multi-industry scam.
The irony is delicious!
King Island is also home to an attempted all-renewable electric power system. They have wind, solar, a battery, and a flywheel. It is a 2.5 MW generation system installed at a cost of $45,000,000 ($18,000 per kilowatt hour). At the time I am writing this, the “backup” diesels are producing about 98% of the island’s electricity. Overall, they get about half of their electricity from this system although it was designed to provide 65%. The “backup’ diesels supply the rest and operate about 80% of the time. The reported cost of the electricity at the point of generation is $0.40 per kilowatt hour. This does not include distribution costs.
Thanks for the update, as the local govt body won’t provide any details. Wasn’t that also the location where flow batteries were installed and failed miserably, so had to be removed and replaced with some other battery system?
Everything that anyone can use for any purpose comes out of the earth. It’s all here and has been for billions of years. If extracting elements from the only place you can to use in daily life is “destroying the earth”, then being human is a hopeless endeavor. At 7 billion in population, we are long past being hunter-gatherers.
I suggest that those who want to stop “destroying the earth” stop eating, live outside and use no manufactured products at all. In less than a month, all of them will be gone along with their silly ideas.
The majority are now owned by the Green Industry because they do not pay attention to facts and reality. As they say, “The Masses are Asses’.
The photo posted is misleading bullshit. It was shot years ago on the Animas River after a blowout occurred on an old shut down gold mine during a restoration study by an EPA contractor as part of the Superfund program. The mines in that area near and around Silverton date back to the 1800s and early 1900s, and have exactly zero to do with renewable energy production in the 21st century.
You Luddites here at WUWT have clearly jumped the shark and now pretend to be against all minerals production, past and present, in your silly attempt to discredit the oldest of human civilizational technologies that literally brought human kind out of the Stone Age.
You make flaming tofu eating anti tech libs look like conservative realists by comparison.
Tell us, what materials that you depend upon day to day do not spring from mines in the earth? Including, you know, oil and gas?
The double-edged scalpel of the environmentally safe, ecologically friendly clean, green, renewable sociopolitical myth.
The people on this site are not against mining. We get that mining has provided us with the life that we enjoy today and comforts we would not otherwise have.
We are against ‘unnecessary’ mining and a criminal waste of global resources. There is nothing about wind, solar, backup batteries and EV’s that is necessary. Nothing! It isn’t even fit for purpose and the people who push it are either totally ignorant or just too full of greed to care that their very actions are causing more damage to the global environment and global economies than traditional forms of energy ever would.
Did something just fly by over your head somehow? You’re missing the point here, which is that, while you have to do some sort of mining, mining for the sake of energy unreliables is a bad alternative (and a stock image of mining waste doesn’t affect what the point was, again, missing the point).
An example of the point of it all being missed by a colourful character:
“I am going to die surrounded by the biggest idiots in the galaxy”
Perfect. Welcome to the green world of climate crisis, as said by the green skinned lady. Irony abounds.
Most developed countries (e.g. Australia) have environmental rules that permit mining under quite strict regulations about effects on water and wildlife. And they require site rehabilitation, tailings stabilisation and ongoing monitoring after a mine has closed. Making indigenous peoples happy (an exercise that is sometimes impossible, and always expensive) is also an integral part of getting a permit to mine in Canada, and I believe the same is true in Australia.
“Ripping up the Wilderness” is typically inflammatory language that alludes to the Bad Old Days, when companies could do that with impunity. It’s just not true any more, except in a few countries like China and the DRC. The article doesn’t really warrant the exposure Eric has given it.
Phrasing paints the vivid evocative sentence above, but fails to supply any information that links the mine expansion to environmentalism or pollution.
Another scary evocative sentence just above. A sentence that entirely avoids any particle of context or information, whatsoever.
The authors fail to link the tungsten mines to any “King Island high end produce” or even rugged beauty.
Apparently, people are supposed accept alarmist blindered stupid claims
As with much of the article, horror scenarios are juxtaposed with the merest hint of what real companies perform, but explicit information is lacking.
“already impacting local waterways”
Just what does that mean and who made that decision?
Modern governments control mines, miners and enforce reclamations and require mine companies are Financially bonded (not cheaply, either), plus requires guaranteed equity to pay for full mine reclamation.
Making it a willful malicious intent by the news authors, to vilify mining.
Modern mining is controlled by laws. Most of the alarming claims regarding mine pollution or mine failures reference 19th century and early 20th century mines.
did you FAIL to realise that its quoted FROM good ol aunty ABC and the fearmongering green claims are from THEM?
No fail ozspeaksup.
Your question comment changes nothing in my comments, I repeat, “willful malicious intent by the news authors, to vilify mining”.
I also note that Eric appears to believe some of the claims.
Ignoring the fact that miner and mining companies, after being willfully obstructed for years, will take advantage of any governmental willingness to process mine applications. Applications for any reason, expansion, opening, construction, ore trucking, etc.
So what happens if you increase wind and solar at ten times the rate?
Not to far in the future wind and solar will be failing at 10 times the rate.
Fossil and nuke plants last many times longer than it takes to build them.
I do not think wind and solar can ever be sustainable.
Yes, such a future state is a treadmill of continuous repairs, decommissioning and new installations just to maintain a system of insufficient, inefficient and unreliable energy production.
The vast amounts of wealth and human capital used to create this monstrous mistake will guarantee that the ability to expend resources to solve real problems will not be available.
This will have severe humanitarian and geopolitical consequences. Remember the chilling quote from one Marice Strong.
Bill save your moral outrage for a future that might happen.
About 25 years ago I got a call from the home office back east about partnering with ERON on wind project in the US PNW.
While I was right about the economics at the time, I was wrong about the future. At the time we were a dumping ground surplus natural gas from Canada. My job went away and got training benefits under NAFTA. I became a local expert on biomass to energy.
A pipeline was built to Chicago and the PNW had to pay to going rate for natural gas. The ammonia plant closed and the cost of making electricity went up. Then some food processing plants closed. Farmers lost outlets and rural school districts lost their tax base.
Then wind farms were built based on economics. Farmers got a piece of the pie as did school districts. One of the members of my yacht works at a wind farm.
Now for the smoke and mirrors. The state passed a ‘mandate’ requiring the amount of wind already built. Califonia showing leadership passed a unattainable mandate.
I was reading a report issue by California about meeting goals. One of the project on the list was a wind farm in my state. I checked further. More than 50% of the ‘new’ projects were existing projects like in my state or Texas with a new contract.
Then some green group claims the contract show how wind is cheaper.
So the big city investor owned utility builds a wind farm in a rural area to reduce the cost for the rate payers. The rate payers are happy because the wind farms is not in their backyard. Rural people are happy because money coming into the area means their children do not have to move to the big city.
The PUC is happy and allows investors a nice dividend. Investors are happy.
They are happy in Califonia because they think they are saving the planet.
PNW wind farms are 100% backed up by existing generation. By offsetting the use of natural gas, is the cost, labor, and use of mined resources justifiable?
I would say yes! Certainly not a monstrous mistake. I think doubling is doable but 10 times is not. Every new wind farms would be at a location with a lower wind potential.
“It’s absolutely ironic, but to save the planet we are going to need more mines,” says Allison Britt, director of mineral resources at government agency Geoscience Australia.
It is ironic, but not in the way she thinks. The irony is that the planet needs saving from people who think the planet needs saving.
I think the last sentence should read
“but the majority have yet to notice they have all been pwned by the mining industry.”
After all, climate models are really just computer games…..
King Island in the Bass Strait between Victoria and Tasmania used to be one of the World’s premier tungsten mines one that my company operated there in the 1950-90 era. I used to go there a few times a year. There was an open pit and an underground mine that extended out east below the sea. We closed the mine in the late 1990s because the ore price had fallen and mining costs increased. After that, we rehabilitated it rather well, so your average Joe could not tell today where the mines used to be.
I just hate it when along come johnny come latelys who know bugger all, but pontificate tell fibs and make outrageous demands.
We did not cause any significant harm to any man nor beast that I know of.
We DID provide resources that the World demanded.
That is how markets work. Geoff S
Great to hear how well you rehabilitated that important mine given its coastal location Geoff, was there in the 60’s on a field trip.
We Aussies know how to treat the environment properly and have exported our capability world wide, so Australia should be proud of what we can do in the exploration-mining scene.
Same goes for a number of mineral sands mines in the south-west of Western Australia, the general public has no idea many of these operations ever existed
And all of this to fix an imaginary non problem.
And, I might add, any new miner at King Island who attempts to run it on renewables should be put in jail. When you are hundreds of metres down an incline under the sea, you have plenty of hazards without the fear of electricity blackouts. It is really dark, dank,vwet and cold without electricity. Even walking out in the dark is hazardous. We triedbit once there, just to see. Horrible. There will be big diesel main generators in a future competent design. Geoff S
no such thing as “minimal oversight” in aus for any damned thing!!! always a govvy dept or council with permits charges and hands out. as for the tungsten mine? its an OLD mine being rebooted.
and the king island dairy etc appears to have folded as products NOT been available for 3yrs plus where i am n Vic.
greenies got the woodcutters halted as well
Still have King Island cheeses being sold in my local supermarket. Have always enjoyed their cheeses.
We must destroy the planet to save it.
Whoa Eric, its not yet the mad rush you claim.
The world wide average for bringing a new mine into production after you have made the initial discovery is over 16 years. And this has been increasing significantly because of legal issues.
The legal challenges to increasing mining on the sorts of scale required this will be gigantic, not the least because of water supply problems and ownership issues.
I am friends with some very ardent supporters of renewables and have been having this exact discussion with them for over 6 months – understanding that all this stuff needs to be made from mineral products and where is it going to come from. Until about a month ago they thought I was crazy and dismissed those points out of hand but not any more.
How many different ways does a person need to be told Renewable are a Scam propagated by the Climate Change Scam before they discover it is worse than a Scam it is a disaster?
King Island, mentioned for its tungsten deposits, has a couple of other interesting features. The authors say it is ‘rugged” when it is nearly as flat as a pancake. But many visitors would not know that because there are few good roads to taken them exploring.
There are, however, big snakes to study. Let me introduce the King Island Tiger Snake.
The King Island Tiger Snake has black or very dark brown head and body, sometimes with lighter cross bands. Belly light to dark grey.
Feeds on mutton bird chicks. It also eats frogs, small mammals, fish and other reptiles.
Females usually give birth to 20 – 30 live young
The King Island Tiger Snake is found only on Bass Strait islands of Tasmania (King Island and nearby islands).
Highly venomous – one of Australia’s most dangerous.
I can add that they are quite aggressive towards people, often wanting to engage while people are trying to walk away.
Few people know, but our local exploration geologists walked me between the dense ti-trees and tiger snakes to several sites where trees had been cut down quite close to the ground. I paced out one of the because they were larger than any trees I could recall This was about 20 feet (6 metres) diameter. My friends did not know what species they were. These days, I cannot find any reference to them.
This was just for interest about King Island by someone who has actually been there and studied it. Geoff S
Next we’ll have Dr’s telling patients that to cure their illness they’re going to have to kill them!