Whyalla Steel is not Alone
Viv has a degree in Applied Science Geology and is a Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
For decades Australian governments have waged a pointless war on industries producing carbon dioxide using taxes, emissions targets, direct action, harassment of coal and gas explorers and bankers, and promotion of expensive weather-dependent green energy. This has damaged all metals industries – iron and steel, copper, nickel, aluminium, lead and zinc.
It is not possible to produce these metals in Australia without using diesel for mining and transport, coking coal for blast furnaces, thermal coal or gas for reliable electricity for mineral processing, rail transport and refining, and fuel oil for bulk carriers. All of these operations produce carbon dioxide.
The choice is clear – abandon the futile war on carbon dioxide or sentence our metals industries to die. Our sacrifice will not reduce global emissions – our producers will just slink offshore.
Some greens dream of a zero-emissions world. Without rapid expansion of nuclear power and electric vehicles and machines, that would be a world without metals. And don’t think plastics can replace metals in the new green world – plastics depend even more on coal and gas for raw materials and energy.
Without metals, some lucky humans may manage to revert to family farms, horse-drawn coaches, wind-mills, draught horses, bullock teams, sulkies, bark roofing, charcoal burners, wood stoves and kerosene lamps (oops not wood or kero – they release that demonised gas, carbon dioxide).
Any others who survive will live in metal-free poverty.