Green Movement in Australia
By Charles Kubach, Mine-Engineer.Com
Jan. 10, 2012
I recently read a excelent article by Brian Wawn of Project Monitor Pty Ltd., in Australia. It discusses the Green anti mining movement in Australia. It is re-printed, with the permission of the author, in its entirety below. Enjoy.
CAN THE GREENS LEARN TO LOVE MINING?
21 December 2011
In his political life, Senator Brown (leader of the Australian Greens) is highly dependent on the products of the resources industry. Yet in his attacks on the industry, he constantly bites the hand that feeds him. Take electricity, which is critical to the functioning of Parliament House. Most electricity for Canberra comes from coal-fired generators in New South Wales. Yet Senator Brown believes that coal is "the energy industry's heroin habit" and that we should increasingly switch to renewable energy. If Parliament House depended on renewable energy, it would close down within a few days. In the course of his work, Senator Brown uses aeroplanes regularly. Aeroplanes are made from aluminium. Aluminium, produced by electrolysis, is sometimes referred to as "congealed electricity". Australia is a leading player globally in this industry because of its access to low-cost, coal-fired electricity. The industry employs 17,000 people. Greens' deputy leader, Christine Milne, believes that the industry should switch to renewable energy. That policy, if implemented, would be the end of the aluminium industry in Australia. Yet in the fairy-tale economic world of the Greens, Christine Milne believes that "renewable-energy smelters with near-zero emissions would have a massive competitive advantage in years to come" (Sydney Morning Herald, 6 August 2010).
Rare earths are used (among other things) in mobile phones, a key tool for Senator Brown and his colleagues. Over 90% of rare earths are produced by China. The Australian company, Lynas Corporation, plans to establish a plant in Malaysia to process rare earths from its Mount Weld mine in Western Australia. This will help the world in reducing dependence on China for rare earths. Yet the Greens support a local campaign in Malaysia to stop the company's processing plant there, because rare earths contain some radioactive material. Is this of concern? Not according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Following a detailed review, it stated in a report of June 2011 that "the review team was not able to identify any non-compliance with international radiation safety standards". Copper is an essential component of any modern building, notably for wiring. The proposed expansion of the Olympic Dam in SA will make that mine one of the largest copper mines in the world. And yet the Greens have slammed the Federal government's environmental approval for the expansion, calling the approval "a blunder of Olympic proportions". Why? Because the ore contains uranium.
Parliament House contains titanium dioxide and zircon, which are found in mineral sands. Titanium dioxide is a pigment in paints, which is used throughout Parliament House. Zircon is used in ceramics and thus in the bathroom fixtures and crockery in Senator Brown's office. Yet Greens senator Lee Rhiannon, in her previous role in the NSW parliament, strongly opposed a planned mineral-sands development at Somersby (near Gosford). Such developments impose "threats to health, the environment and water supplies". Another mining sector for the Green's out tray?
Finally, Senator Brown could not travel as he does - by road and air - without petroleum. Yet the Greens are highly critical of the petroleum industry and "seek a shift to sustainable transport - cycling, walking and heavy and light rail". Does this apply to travel from Canberra to Hobart (Senator Brown's home city)? To paraphrase Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Senator Brown and his colleagues seem to be saying: "We come to bury the resources industry, not to praise it". It is time they praised it - or tell us what parts of the industry they are willing to give up.
Project Monitor Pty Ltd, 164 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn, Vic. 3122, Australia
Telephone: 03 9819 9463 Fax: 03 9819 6313
"The Sign of an intelligent person is not the realization of all they know,
but rather the realization of all they do not know."
Charles Kubach 1979
Return To Mining Information Page