Unearthing Tasmania’s Best Kept Secret

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According to the latest update from the Reserve Bank of Australia, national mining exports account for 68.6 per cent of all exports. 

With Queensland minerals contributing 81 per cent and West Australia with it’s massive 94 per cent, a person could conclude Tasmania is a minnow in this competition.

But many would be surprised to know that Tasmania is a mining state with 64.1 per cent of Tasmania’s total exports in the year ending October 2021 coming from mining, right up there at a national level.

 

With the restart of the Dolphin Tungsten Mine, the potential restart of Avebury Nickel Mine, the herculean Mt Lyell in the evaluation/planning stages, more prospective mines being evaluated and a doubling of exploration, mining exports are sure to increase for Tasmania.

So why does it not feel or look like WA or QLD with ships sitting out to sea, kilometre-long trains running 24/7 and people in high viz everywhere you look?

In Tasmania the dominant export wealth is generated from one per cent of the land mass. Further to this barely visible profile is that most of Tasmania’s minerals are mined from deep in the earth with only the processing facilities on the surface.

With agriculture utilising 28 per cent and Reserve Listing approaching 50 per cent of Tassie’s land mass, the one per cent used for mining must be the premier export wealth per hectare contributor.

In fact, several Tasmanian mines are literally positioned at the end of the street in some communities, where decades of co-existence have ensured a respectful relationship between residents and the mining operation.

A relationship which saw the mine established first, then the community second, to today where the inclusive industry respects diversity and constantly seeks ways to co-exist with its neighbours. This decades-long co-existence and micro footprint bodes well for Tasmanian mining to hold its head up with pride and be a vital contributor to the global boom of critical minerals required for modern society’s transition away from carbon-based fuels.

Tasmanians can be proud of how their mining sector performs and contributes to a better world.

History is dotted with examples where a goal to reduce the impact on the environment occurs at the expense of an environment in another location eg. Australia’s historical practice of plastic waste being shipped overseas.

The pursuit of 21st century critical minerals should ensure the same oversight does not occur.

The global community can take comfort in the fact Tasmanian miners follow best practices today and can demonstrate they are ethical producers.

Tasmanian miners are law abiding, follow due process, respect the environment, have practices which respect human rights together with solid governance and accountability practices.

The world needs and wants what Tasmania has.

Ethically sourced minerals processed to make products which reduce the world’s need for carbon-based energy sources, processed in a sustainable way utilising 100 per cent renewable energy and doing so from one per cent of Tasmania’s land mass is truly remarkable.

Add to these the Tasmanian manufacturing businesses in 2022 with projects underway to further decarbonise using battery electric vehicles and hydrogen, and the trust to continue to operate in a way which is cleaner, smarter and diverse continues to be nurtured.

Tasmanians can be proud of how their mining sector performs and contributes to a better world.

  • Ray Mostogl, Chief Executive Officer, Tasmanian Minerals, Manufacturing and Energy Council
Originally published in The Examiner