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Response to concerns about mining exploration and agriculture

By Ray Mostogl, CEO Tasmanian Minerals, Manufacturing and Energy Council

 

Sustainable coexistence remains the key to how competing interests should view the challenge of meeting current and future needs from the land in Tasmania. This is none so more important in the balance between food security and decarbonisation.

Decarbonisation is a path the world’s leaders and communities need and want. To decarbonise we need the equipment to enable the changeover from fossil-fueled items like conventional cars, trucks and thermal power stations to Electric Vehicles and renewable energy generators. With the intermittent nature of renewable versus thermal, we need 5, 6 – 7 times more generation capacity to make up for the non continuous nature of wind, etc. This equipment needs minerals –and more than we have ever mined before and some very different minerals to enable the battery technology for example.

  • An EV has 6-7 times more critical minerals than a conventional car.
  • An offshore wind farm needs 7-8 times more critical minerals per megawatt than a coal fired power station.

It is therefore not surprising to see exploration has increased globally as well as in Tasmania. This then creates the question of “so what happens if an economic critical mineral deposit is found?“. Before answering that question, it is important to know the statistics the mining industry works with.

  • For every 500-1000 Exploration Projects, 100
    generate sufficient interest to become a target for advanced exploration,
  • From here 10 become Development
    Projects,
  • and one of those will become a profitable mine.

While I  understand the concern held by landholders in the face of increased exploration, the reality suggests there is a one-in-a-thousand chance exploration leads to a mine. TMEC encourages dialogue between the peak bodies and Mineral Resources Tasmania to keep perspective in this matter as well as productive communication channels. We need both food security and minerals.

“If it was not mined, it was grown” is a statement of fact. We need both.