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Increasing Chinese investment in renewables is driving costs down. The Danish Wind Industry Association / Vindmølleindustrien/Flickr

Chile’s mines set hot pace on renewables — Australia take note

Mining is the fourth-largest energy consumer in Australia, using roughly 10% of Australia’s total. Some of this comes from the electricity grid — but much is supplied offgrid in the form of diesel and…
Australia is now the most China-dependent economy in the world – does this pose a problem for our future? AAP/Alan Porritt

Australia’s China dependence: do we need a Plan B?

If something can’t go on for ever, it won’t. – Herb Stein, chief economic adviser to former US president Richard Nixon. China’s economic rise has been a good news story for Australia. According to most…
Queensland’s cuts to water red tape could leave outback bores high and dry. kdliss/Wikimedia Commons

Queensland risks running the well dry by gifting water to coal

On Wednesday, Queensland’s parliament passed water reform legislation that will make it easier to take and use water, particularly for large mining and agriculture projects. The state government also recently…
Gold rush? jovom

Why we should mine the moon

To date, all human economic activity has depended on the material and energy resources of a single planet; understandably, perhaps. It is conceivable though that future advances in space exploration could…
Time to get on the Arctic mine train? Kitty Terwolbeck

Why mining companies might be the Arctic’s best hope

Economic interests are set to play an increasingly important role in shaping development in the Arctic. Yet prominent members of the mining industry, familiar with the economic and reputational perils…
Mining has become an industrial actor central to many of the most compelling political and social debates of our time. AAP/Dan Peled

Anthropology exposes how miners shape our world and our views of it

Miners do much more than extract minerals and make profits. All over the world mining corporations are collaborating with governments, local populations and NGOs. Their logos, mottoes and CEOs seem to…
The facts about mining revenues and taxation in Australia aren’t as clear as they should be under global transparency benchmarks. AAP/Rebecca Le May

Why isn’t Australia signing up to mining revenue transparency?

It’s a far-from-perfect instrument of global governance. But as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) coalition celebrates its 12th birthday, it can point to steadily increasing membership…
Mining giant Rio Tinto, which has operated in Guinea for 50 years, has donated just US$100,000 to the UN Ebola fund. EPA/Ahmed Jallanzo

Mining companies must dig deep in the fight against Ebola

The current outbreak of Ebola virus in West Africa shows no signs of halting. More than 4,500 people have died and many thousands more are infected. Despite the creation of a new United Nations mission…
Universities in the US have led the divestment charge - the ANU is leading the Australian movement. Light Brigading/Flickr

Divestment backlash shows companies need to improve sustainability reporting

Tony Abbott’s criticisms of the ANU’s divestment decision will come back to bite him. The tide of change is such that Vice-Chancellor Ian Young and the ANU Council will be seen as leaders. Others will…
Diamond geezers. Indians are taking Antwerp. Racineur

The rise and rise of Belgium’s Indian diamond dynasties

From the outside, Number 2 Hoveniersstraat Street in Antwerp is a nondescript office block. Only the clusters of businessmen speaking in Gujarati on their mobile phones or with each other, give any indication…
AAP/Alan Porritt

Is Colin Barnett a communist?

Western Australia is an interesting place. No, really! True, lots of students from Asia think Perth’s a bit ‘quiet’, but at least local politics is getting a bit more exciting. Indeed, our state premier…
Children are particularly susceptible to the toxic effects of lead because their brains and bodies are still developing. Viacheslav Nikolaenko/Shutterstock

Toxic playgrounds: Broken Hill kids exposed to poisonous dust

In the shadows of Broken Hill’s rich mining history lies a legacy of contamination and regulatory failure that will likely outlive any benefits locals derive from mining. One in five children aged under…
A test pit for the Alpha Coal Mine proposed by GVK Hancock, which was successfully challenged in the Land Court. Such a challenge would not be allowed under Queensland’s new mining laws. Lock the Gate Alliance/Flickr

Mining coup in Queensland removes public objection rights

The Queensland government has recently removed long-standing public rights to object to mines. In shades of the Bjelke-Petersen era, Queensland mines minister Andrew Cripps made fundamental changes one…
Indigenous groups are concerned about proposed changes to the process for determining heritage sites in Western Australia, including the location of the Nyoongar Tent embassy. Allen Stewart/Newspix

Frustration rises over changes to the WA Aboriginal Heritage Act

In June, the Western Australian Government released draft amendments to the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972. This is the legislation that determines what qualifies for heritage protection in the state – and…
Australia has a strategy for abandoned mines - but it needs implementing. Caveman/Flickr

What should we do with Australia’s 50,000 abandoned mines?

Wandering around Australia, you might want to watch your step — the country currently has more than 50,000 abandoned mines. Some represent a significant threat from contamination; others may pose safety…
Nailing down the sites of ancient volcanic eruptions could help identify mineral deposits. Ásgeir Kröyer/Flickr

Tracing the Earth’s hottest volcanoes from core to ore

Volcanic eruptions are as old as the planet itself. They inspire awe, curiosity and fear and demonstrate the dynamic internal activity of the Earth. However, the impact of modern volcanoes pales in comparison…

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