Digging In: Why powering a green future means more mines

10 May 2022

Four Corners investigates the new critical minerals mining boom and finds Australia is in the box seat to exploit a surge in worldwide demand.

"It's absolutely ironic. But to save the planet, we are going to need more mines.”  Government geoscientist

Around Australia new mining operations are being established and old sites, shuttered decades ago, are being brought back to life.  These miners aren’t digging for coal or gold, they’re hunting for other lucrative commodities – known as critical minerals. 

“Critical minerals (are) everything you use for electric vehicles, for transport, for manufacturing.  We're really at the start of what could be a new mining boom.”  Minerals lobbyist

If you own a mobile phone, if you power your home with renewable energy or drive an electric vehicle, then these minerals are already playing a key part in your life.  

And they will play a vital role in all our futures. 

But there is a hidden cost?

"There's no question we have some tough decision to make and this view that the green view is anti-mining is naïve, because if we're going to go green, we're going to have to get a bunch of these critical metals and we're going to have to do it smartly, and we're going to have to produce a lot of them. "  PROF JOHN MAVROGENES, RESEARCH SCHOOL OF EARTH SCIENCES

 

View full episode HERE