In this issue

Issue 17 • May 2021

Welcome to the new edition of MINE Magazine. 

In this issue, reports from China suggest that the state has all but banned imports of Australian coal, following anti-China rhetoric from Australian politicians. The move could have disastrous impacts for Australia, with more than 70 coal-carrying ships currently stranded off the Chinese coast without a port to put into, and a trade relationship worth around $14bn a year hanging from a thread.

Also, rare earths have become a deeply politicised commodity, with the US eager to develop new sources of the rare minerals to reduce its reliance on Chinese imports. But in February, the US took an unprecedented step, going beyond simply purchasing rare earths mined from other countries, to bankrolling a rare earths refinery, to be built by Australia’s Lynas Rare Earths, in Texas. The move is the most direct example of state-level investment in rare earth projects, and could set a new standard for direct government involvement in this growing resource conflict.

Elsewhere, the small off-grid town of Jabiru in the Northern Territory previously had its power supplied by diesel generators from the nearby Ranger uranium mine, until the mine closed in January. Wary of leaving the town without power, the Northern Territory Government held a tender for providers to come up with plans to supply the town with at least 50% renewables. Energy provider EDL has won the contract and will build a hybrid solar, diesel, and battery storage project to supply the area. We look at this project and examine whether it could become a model for end-of-life mines and the communities they leave behind.

For all this and more, read on.

Callum Tyndall, editor