Greenbushes Open Cut Lithium Mine in WA                    Click to Enlarge

The International Mining and Resources Conference in Melbourne resulted in mining executives being harassed, spat on and dragged to the ground by misguided protesters. Yet, as the title would suggest, the conference was

not just about coal mining alone. If their protests were to put coal off limits then they are destined to fail. Coal will remain the main energy source of the future.

Open Cut Coal Mine   Click to Enlarge

Mining is required to obtain any material that cannot be grown through agricultural processes, or feasibly created artificially in a laboratory or factory. Mining is first and foremost a source of vital mineral commodities, coal, oil which  powers mining itself, uranium, thorium, lithium, copper, zinc, gold, bauxite to make aluminium, platinum and titanium among the 84 different minerals currently obtained through mining. All countries find these minerals essential for maintaining and improving their standards of living. We needed them to  construct roads and hospitals, to build automobiles and houses, to make computers, mobile phones and satellites, to generate electricity, and to provide the many other goods and services that consumers enjoy.

Coal is cheaper and major emergency economies have more of it at home and for this reason coal has been the fastest growing source of energy of the 21st century, driven by the growth of these emerging economies.

“Coal has been, is and will be the backbone of modern electricity and the bedrock on which the modern world is built,” according to the World Coal Association. (“The public image of coal: inconvenient facts and political correctness” May 2014)

There is no conceivable energy future over the next 30 to 40 years in which coal does not play an enormous role.

The divestment campaign, however well intended will fail.While it might succeed in closing down a number of ageing power stations it will never reduce the world’s prodigious demand for coal fired power.


  1. Targui says:

    No matter what method of creating energy we use, whether it be from Coal, Wind Turbines, Solar panels, Hydro, Tidal and Wave, Compressed Air or Nuclear Power etc.., we cannot escape from fossil fuels. Lithium for the batteries cannot be made without fossil fuels whether it be from mining or extraction from brine.
    The infrastructure to deliver it to where its required will only add to the problem. The only way we can limit emissions will be to reduce the demand for energy and that can only be achieved by reducing the world’s population.

  2. Bonza Wright says:

    Scientists marked the start of modern global warming record-keeping accuracy roughly 139 years ago, in 1880. That’s because earlier available data was considered inaccurate because of the lack of weather stations around the planet, according to NASA. What was so different after 1880, besides a few more thermometers, could it have have been lack of communication?… Surely not? The US went from drums and smoke signals before 1880 to Morse Code in 1835, the first long distance telegraph line was constructed in 1843 and in 1861 the pony express was established!

  3. Bazza says:

    I’d like to thank all you climate change enthusiasts
    We used to have floods and droughts and bush fires and dust storms and we never knew why.
    Now we know they are caused by climate change I’m sleeping much easier now.

  4. Neil says:

    Most sensible people who are not financially dependent upon the climate change gravy train are sensible enough to fully realise man cannot control climate and extreme weather. Yet, incredible though it may seem, there still remain some, who are otherwise intelligent, who still believe it is not a scam.

  5. talford says:

    At the end of the day there is not much difference in total emissions between coal fired power stations, wind turbines or solar panels when you take into account the manufacture of steel, concrete, the production and replacement of batteries plus transport and transmission lines.etc. What gain there might be is offset by the fact they are only intermittent power sources.
    You can never please the former leader of the Greens. Bob Brown led the protest and succeeded in stopping the Hydro plan on the Franklin River and more recently objected to wind turbines being built on an island north of Tasmania.

  6. Dave says:

    At first glance ethanol might be a good option to replace petroleum because the carbon footprint of biofuels is less than the traditional forms of fuel when burnt. However, the process with which they are produced makes up for that. Production is largely dependent on lots of water and oil. Large scale industries meant for churning out biofuel are known to emit large amounts of emissions and cause small scale water pollution as well. Unless more efficient means of production are put into place, the overall carbon emission does not get a very big dent in it. The amount of land clearing, that might otherwise we use for food production, is another negative.

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