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Miners to benefit from Australia's net zero plan - Minister

Image shows smoke stacks in front of a setting sun

Photo by Reuters

28th October 2021

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

     

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PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The federal government said on Thursday that the Long-Term Emissions Reduction Plan, introduced earlier this week, would strengthen Australia’s agriculture, mining and manufacturing sectors, while reducing emissions to net zero by 2050.

“Our plan has been designed for Australia. By investing in new technologies like hydrogen, ultralow-cost solar, carbon capture and storage and improved soil carbon measurement, our plan will strengthen our agriculture, mining and manufacturing sectors, and see Australia’s emissions reduce to net zero by 2050,” said Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor.

“It imposes no new costs on households or businesses. It doesn’t raise the price of energy or reduce the competitiveness of our export industries. Australia will remain a trusted commodity producer, including of coal and gas, to those who want to buy it. Not one job will be lost as a result of the government’s actions or policies under the plan.”

Taylor noted that calls to reduce methane emissions from the gas sector, a critical fuel source that complements the increasing share of renewables in Australia's electricity grid, by shutting down production and generation is an invitation for the type of chaos being seen in Europe at the moment.

“In the UK, up to 11-million households on default market offers are suffering as a result of rapidly rising electricity prices, with prices up by 12.5% since October. Factories, producing steel, paper, glass and cement among other things, are halting production because of a lack of affordable, reliable energy.

“We have reduced, and will continue to reduce, Australia’s methane emissions in a way that protects our economy, jobs and our way of life. This has been driven by the government’s Emissions Reduction Fund, the world’s largest government-run offset scheme, which has successfully delivered over 100-million tonnes of abatement.

“It is the right plan for the right time. The decision by Australia’s largest and most important trading partners to adopt a net zero by 2050 target will have a gradual but lasting impact on our country given our status as the world’s fourth largest energy exporter.”

Taylor said by bringing priority technologies to cost competitiveness with the existing alternatives, Australia will create new jobs and open up new opportunities to export goods and services to the world. 

“Our A$464-million Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hubs program for example, will see new industries and businesses spring up in regional centres, like Gladstone in Queensland, the Hunter Valley in New South Wales or the La Trobe Valley in Victoria.”

Under the plan, about 62 000 net new regional jobs would be created in the mining and heavy industry, Taylor said.

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (Appea) has previously said that the oil and gas industry has a critical role to play in helping the Australian government deliver on its net-zero targets.

CEO Andrew McConville said the oil and gas industry was already taking action and making investments to reduce emissions in Australia and the region.

“Not only does natural gas reduce emissions by replacing coal in power generation, it is also necessary to support more renewables in our electricity system.

“Multibillion-dollar technology is already up and running across the country helping to reduce emissions, including carbon capture and storage, offshore batteries on platforms and installation of renewables to help power our sites,” he said.

“Investments are also being made as recently as this week that will also see hydrogen produced through steam methane reforming, the lowest cost, most rapid way to commercialise this important new fuel.”

Meanwhile, the Minerals Council of Australia has noted that the Commonwealth government’s target of net zero emissions by 2050, would ensure national climate policy stability and certainty over the medium to long term for the Australian mining sector and its customers.

“Australian mining companies are taking action now and investing in activities which will drive down emissions, and in turn, sustain jobs and the communities in which they operate.

Companies are investing in renewable energy projects, battery storage systems, electric haul trucks, carbon capture and storage partnerships, using waste gas for electricity generation, autonomous trains and more,” said CEO Tania Constable.

“As a leading nation in the production of minerals and metals such as copper, lithium, uranium and rare earth elements, Australia will play a significant role in supplying the materials needed for modern day life.

“The role of high quality and verified offsets is also important in achieving a net-zero future. The expansion domestically and internationally of Australian methodologies that underpin high-integrity offsets is welcome.”

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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