8 Nov 2019

From mining to making - Australia's future in zero-emissions metal


Metal production causes 9% of global greenhouse gas emissions, a figure that is set to rise as metal consumption increases. By 2050 demand for many metals will grow substantially – driven partly by growth of renewable energy infrastructure that relies on a wide range of metals.

To meet increased demand sustainably, metal production must become zero-carbon. Climate action by governments, investors and large companies mean there are growing risks to high-carbon metal production. Companies and governments are paying more attention to the emissions embodied in goods and materials they buy. This is leading to a emerging market for lower-carbon metal, that has enormous potential to grow.

Australia has an opportunity to capitalise on this transition to zero-carbon metal. Few countries match Australia’s potential to generate renewable energy. A 300% renewable energy target would require only 0.15% of the Australian landmass and provide surplus energy to power new industries. By combining renewable energy resources with some of the world’s best mineral resources, Australia might become a world leader in zero-carbon metals production.

Pursuing this opportunity effectively could assist Australia to revitalise its manufacturing sector. The examples explored in this paper illustrate the potential to create many tens of thousands of jobs and generate over $100 billion in export revenue. However, Australian success is not inevitable. Effective policy shaped by A Zero Emissions Metals Strategy backed by federal and state governments would support achievement of these outcomes.




CORE Partners