Miners reduce emissions as exports rise

The Minerals Council of Australia has reported its members’ mining related emissions declined over FY2022 with the results culminating from the council’s 3-year Climate Action Plan that started in June 2020.

Minerals Council of Australia CEO Tania Constable says the report shows the industry emissions trend line has continued downward, reflecting the ongoing focus to reduce emissions across the sector.

“In FY22, MCA member facilities’ scope one emissions reported to the safeguard mechanism were more than 9% lower than in FY18, while total safeguard mechanism emissions have remained basically flat. In the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting scheme (NGERs), MCA member’s scope one and two emissions fell by over 7% in FY22 while total NGERs reporting entities emissions fell by 2.1%.

On 1 July 2023, the federal government’s new safeguard mechanism came into effect. This is particularly relevant for Australia’s resources sector which represents around 40 per cent of safeguard mechanism emissions and over two-thirds of Australia’s total exports.

In this report, the MCA again showcases member announcements and activities – from deploying renewable energy, to working with customers in the development of technologies to reduce emissions along the supply chain, to progressing vital technologies such as carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS). Committed to change Having established a strong base, Australia’s mining industry will continue to progress climate action initiatives and report regularly on progress.”

The news follows recent data that shows Australia’s resources sector contributed a record $455 billion in export revenue for the country in the 2022-23 financial year.

In data released last month, the Australian Bureau of Statistics says the export revenue again highlights the importance of the industry to Australia’s economy, government revenues, and regional jobs.

The figure represents 66% of all export revenue for the nation and is a 10.5% increase on 2021-22, which was then a record year.

The ABS figures show the strongest growth in exports was made in technology metals such as nickel (51%), zinc (30%), copper (17%) with continued growth in coal exports (11%) and a strong result for gold (5%).

Meanwhile, the ABS reports that coal (thermal and metallurgical) export revenue totalled $128 billion, iron ore $125 billion, gold $27.4 billion, aluminium $14.9 billion, and copper $12.5 billion.

Over the decade, the total contribution of minerals, metals and energy commodities to export revenue totalled $2.7 trillion.

The Minerals Council of Australia says the industry’s contribution to the nation’s export earnings cannot be taken for granted and Australia cannot afford to miss the opportunity to attract a share of the US$180 billion per year in global mining investment over the next 2 decades needed to meet the world’s energy transition.

According to the Minerals Council of Australia, the federal government’s Same Job, Same Pay proposed legislation would severely affect the mining industry’s global competitiveness to attract this investment.

“This would be a major blow to our nation’s economy and future export revenue. Instead of making the industry more competitive and attractive for investment, the federal government’s proposed legislation would be a handbrake on mining wages, investment and jobs growth.”

The council says Australia risks dealing itself out of trillion-dollar critical minerals markets unless it gets serious about addressing rising costs, declining productivity, and increased policy risks.

The MCA represents a world-leading minerals sector that is dynamic, diverse, sustainable, and valued by all Australians.

Australia’s minerals industry is innovative, technologically advanced, capital intensive, and environmentally and socially progressive. The industry is a major contributor to national income, investment, high-wage jobs, exports, and government revenues.

The MCA engages with the community, other industries, industry and representative bodies, opinion leaders and other stakeholders to reinforce and raise awareness of the industry’s contribution to Australia and Australians.

The industry is committed to contributing to the sustained growth and prosperity of current and future generations through the integration of economic progress, responsible social development and effective environmental management.

Write to Adam Orlando at Mining.com.au

Images: MCA

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Written By Adam Orlando
Mining.com.au Editor-in-Chief Adam Orlando has more than 20 years’ experience in the media having held senior roles at various publications, including as Asia-Pacific Sector Head (Mining) at global newswire Acuris (formerly Mergermarket). Orlando has worked in newsrooms around the world including Hong Kong, Singapore, London, and Sydney.