The coal industry, a cornerstone of the Australian economy, faces a questionable future as the mining community prepares for an energy transition away from fossil fuels.
Australia is the second biggest exporter of coal by volume and is home to the port of Newcastle, the world’s biggest coal port. The industry employs over 50000 workers with another 120000 indirect jobs supported by the industry.
The Australian economy continues to rely heavily upon coal as sources to generate electricity.
Currently, coal accounts for 80% of the nation’s electricity requirement.
Being so dependent on the industry, the government continues to resist international pressure to commit to net-zero emission by 2050, contending the unreliability of renewable energy to be an efficient and affordable substitute to power the nation.
Incentive for change
With the continuing trend of fossil fuels falling out of favor with investors, Rio Tinto and BHP, two of Australia’s largest coal producers plant to exit the market for thermal coal.
Apart from decreasing supply, the industry faces dwindled demand as the world’s biggest coal consumers, in particular, Japan and South Korea pledged to deeper emission cuts.
With the threat of a dismal outlook for the industry, Australia needed to prepare new policies and secure funding to diversify its economy to ensure life beyond coal.