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The Ties that Bind Us... Renewable Energy and the Mining Industry.

by Steven Randall

Many years ago the author Lewis Carroll penned a poem as part of his book "Alice through the Looking Glass" and part of it went like this.... "..the time has come the Walrus said, to speak of many things - of shoes - and ships - and sealing wax- of cabbages and kings.." You may ask what this little piece of frivolity has to do with anything. Alice was all about the unusual - the unexpected or the the just plain crazy things in her world. And right at the moment, there are some unusual, unexpected and just plain crazy things being said by the resources sector about their being absolutely "..in love with the Renewable Energy industry.."

Some of the biggest miners in the world are saying ..bring on the electric vehicle revolution....

...bring on electric transport or bring on hundreds of wind and solar farms. But you say, wait a minute - electric cars mean less oil / petrol used. Wind farms mean less coal and oil mined for power.

And you are absolutely right. China currently puts 3 Million new cars a year onto their roads...creating this kind of picture...

.. All across the world we are seeing a massive Sea Change occurring, as people and whole governments are moving steadily towards the adoption of Renewable Energy in it's various forms.

France and Britain have indicated policies banning petrol powered vehicles by 2040, and China has started looking at a possible timetable for the same thing. LNG powered heavy transport is also getting very strong support in China at the moment.

So why are we talking about Alice and the Looking Glass. Here are a few interesting figures about some of the new types of Renewable technology, courtesy of Paul Garvey from The Australian a couple of days ago....

"..The growth in electric vehicles and batteries is shaping as the next great growth catalyst for the resources sector and explains why the likes of Glencore and BHP are so excited about the energy ­revolution... for electric vehicles to represent 30 per cent of car sales by 2030, the world needs another 4.1 million tonnes of copper, an extra 1.1 million tonnes of nickel, and 314,000 ­tonnes of cobalt..." This between 25% and 400 % more of each of these, mined EACH YEAR from now on.

Car maker BMW needs ten times more Lithium and Cobalt over the next few years. Electric cars need four to five times the copper content of their petrol powered cousins. B.H.P officials expect 70% of new car sales globally will be electric by 2035...

...that's 4 - 6 times more copper needed as now. And hugely increased amounts of Zinc and Nickel for their rechargeable Batteries. The picture above is of Tesla's new Giga factory in Nevada, designed to ultimately produce the world's whole current Lithium Battery production EACH YEAR, to support THEIR production of 500,000 electric cars each year.

Once a Solar farm is built, you will never burn another pound of coal or a gallon of oil to produce that electricity...

...but, per unit of power generated, this CSP generation plant needs up to 4 times the steel, and 5-6 times the Plastics and Silicons needed by the same capacity LNG plant.

This southern US wind farm is part of a 140 MW generation system - all with Zero Carbon Dioxide emission for the next 40 years...


...but the high quality compound steels that make up the turbine blades require 3- 4 times the metals per electric unit than that of a coal or LNG fired power station.

So we come back to Alice - as Lewis Carroll said - and through the Looking Glass we can see the unexpected and unusual; that while we reduce the amounts of fossil fuels used to power part of our world, the world's big metal miners will be cutting numerous products out of the ground in ever increasing amounts to feed the massively growing, zero emission, Renewable Energy Industry.

Our thanks to Paul Garvey and The Australian newspaper for their assistance in this article. for more information on mining and Renewable Energy in Australia, we invite you to view the following pages on our website....

Australian Mining and Minerals

Australasia Energy.














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