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Anthony Albanese addresses Minerals Week.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has reiterated Australia’s position as a resources and renewable “super power”.

Speaking at Minerals Week, he said the country was the world’s pre-eminent resources jurisdiction – the top exporter of iron ore, lithium, LNG, and metallurgical coal.

The event, running this year from September 5-7, is organised by the Minerals Council of Australia, and is the industry’s opportunity to discuss issues affecting the sector and highlight the sector’s contribution to the Australian economy.

“Here – and around the world – your work will drive the global transition to a low-carbon future,” Albanese said.

He said the MCA had reported on the increase in production required by 2030:

  • increasing lithium production fourfold
  • doubling rare earth element output
  • a two-thirds increase in nickel
  • a third more copper.

“The growth in demand will drive growth in jobs – and investment too,” he said.

“Globally, annual clean energy investment will need to more than triple to reach net zero by 2050.

“There is a world of opportunity here for our country. We have an unmatched natural advantage in clean energy.

“The sunniest continent on earth, some of the strongest winds in the world – and all the minerals and metals needed to drive the energy transition.

“We are also home to the Southern Hemisphere’s best geoscientific research through the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia.

“But you know very well – better than perhaps any other industry in Australia – that natural advantages are no guarantee of success. Natural advantages only get you to the start line.

“Winning the race, leading the world, requires investment and innovation and courage and commitment.”

Albanese said there was strong global demand –and there’s fierce global competition, with the likes of Chile, Canada and Saudi Arabia all chasing the same prize, the same jobs, the same chance to lead an economic change every bit as transformational as the industrial revolution.

He singled out several achievements:

  • Rio Tinto is investing in wind and solar farms in Queensland to sustainably power its aluminium assets
  • BHP’s Nickel West refinery at Kwinana – one of the most sustainable and lowest carbon emission nickel producers in the world – will be supplying processed nickel to Tesla
  • Iluka Resources is developing our nation’s first integrated rare earths refinery in Western Australia
  • H2 Energy is working to decarbonise heavy transport and passenger vehicles by sourcing and supplying green hydrogen to heavy duty fleet customers

“I’m hoping that all of you no longer need to think of this as acting ‘in spite of’ government and instead we can view it as the chance to win the race together,” he said.

“Both in terms of reducing the emissions footprint of extracting and refining resources, and harnessing the rise of renewables and clean energy to grow Australia’s economy, and expand the resources sector.

“Our $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund will support new and emerging industries and the transition of existing industries.

“It will invest in areas like green steel and aluminium; clean energy component manufacturing; hydrogen electrolysers; and fuel switching.

“The NRF will dedicate a $1 billion investment in mining science technology and minerals processing to move Australia further up mineral value chains.”

Albanese said that for nearly a decade, the Australian political debate over renewables and resources and climate action had been hostage to a false choice between creating jobs or cutting pollution.

“Our Powering Australia plan busts that myth. Embracing renewable energy technology will attract and generate tens of billions of dollars in investment,” he said.

“I want to emphasise that our Government will continue to work with businesses to reduce emissions in a predictable and orderly way, underpinning the energy transition with certainty.”