Raw Materials: Who Will Pay the Green Premium?

by | 7. Feb 2024 - 10:11 | Politics

Australian minister sees a contradiction between aspirations and economic practice.

Madeleine King, Australian Minister for Resources, sees a growing discrepancy in Europe between the demands for sustainability and the price people are prepared to pay. In an interview with the Australian Financial Review (Paywall), she pointed out the higher costs of mining, producing, and refining raw materials if these steps are carried out in strict compliance with environmental aspects. However, the minister is skeptical that European e-car manufacturers will voluntarily pay the resulting prices. They are already under pressure from imported vehicles from China, which are significantly cheaper.

However, this is not the end of King’s lesson on desire and reality in Europe. The desire for ever stricter ESG requirements, i.e., environmental, social, and governance standards, is based on a lack of imagination regarding what these could look like in practice. After all, Europe has outsourced most of its mining in recent decades.

Australian Mining Industry Under Pressure

This year, her work will focus on boosting international investment in the country’s raw materials sector and supporting mining companies facing challenging market conditions, the Minister continued. One measure could be tax incentives for battery materials and other critical resource extraction projects, as the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia recommended. The sector is currently under tremendous pressure, with the price of nickel, an important raw material for rechargeable batteries, falling sharply due to oversupply. As a result, several Australian mines have been closed, as reported by ABC News.

Australia has been striving to position itself as an alternative supplier of many natural resources for several years, and Madeleine King regularly touts this abroad.

Photo: Hangela via Canva

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