Western Australia sits in the hot seat to supply the world with the commodities it will need to transition to a zero-carbon environment. That was the key takeaway at the Gold Industry Group breakfast, held at the WA School of Mines in Kalgoorlie this morning.
Chaired by Deloitte WA mining leader Nicki Ivory, the breakfast panel was made up of Northern Star Resources non-executive director and chair of the environmental social and safety committee Mary Hackett, Pilbara Minerals chief operating officer Dale Henderson, IGO head of corporate affairs Joanne McDonald and Deloitte director, sustainability and climate change services Michael Wood.
“Where is the opportunity? Well, fortunately for Australia and WA in particular, what the world is going to need in order to transition to a lower carbon environment is the kind of commodities that we have in abundance,” Ms Ivory said.
“And it’s not just nickel and lithium; there’s a whole host of commodities that go into batteries and other renewable energy components.
“But the even bigger opportunity is to then start adding value to those commodities in Australia and not just exporting them.”
Mr Wood said there were four macro drivers to living in a decarbonised world; policy, technology, investor pressure and supply chain pressure.
“What has really accelerated in the last year is investor pressure,” he said.
“We’ve investor pressure transition from softer issues to harder issues… investors want to know how their contributing to a greener future, full stop.”
Mr Henderson said customers are now asking for green alternatives and that pressure is growing across the market, but there are real-time challenges to this at present.
“These pressures are real, and in the battery business our customers are demanding low-carbon solutions,” he said.
“The first core challenge cash balance, meaning investment versus cash on the balance sheet. Especially for younger companies, it’s all about timing around when to make those investments.
“The second challenge is the technology, more specifically when on that technology adoption curve that you want to enter, followed with the choice of whether or not you want to be an innovator.
“The third key challenge is the supply chain understanding integration. In this new world we’re heading into… it’s a whole new relationship.”
Ms McDonald said by enlarge, we’re all a lot more aware of natural environment now than we were ten years ago, and as we transition to a lower carbon environment Australia will need to improve on its green mining exploration techniques.
“As we transition, it’s going to change the way we work on a macro scale,” she said.
Cannings Purple is a founding member of the Gold Industry Group.