Mining and Energy Update

Mining and Energy Update

Council scopes regional renewable hydrogen opportunity

Thursday, 25 October 2018
Minister’s office – 6552 6200

The McGowan Government’s newly established Renewable Hydrogen Council, which will meet for the first time today, is focused on opportunities for Western Australia to capture a share of the global demand for clean energy.

The McGowan Government is looking at how to capitalise on WA’s vast land and renewable energy resources, including wind and solar, to deliver renewable hydrogen to export markets.

The council, a collective of government (State and national), industry and other representatives with significant renewable hydrogen industry expertise, will be led by Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan.

Members have been drawn from the Office of the Minister for Energy; Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development; Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation; Australian Gas Infrastructure Group; ATCO Gas; Woodside; ENGIE; Hydrogen Mobility Australia; CSIRO; ARENA; Yara; and Jackson McDonald.

As a fuel, hydrogen can be used in similar ways to natural gas. In simple terms, it can be burned, used to create electricity, or stored for future energy generation or export. When made using renewable energy such as solar or wind, hydrogen is a carbon free fuel as, when burned, the only by-products are water and heat.
The council will deliver its recommendations in early 2019.

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Additional funding to help drive WA’s economy

Saturday, 20 October 2018
Minister’s office – 6552 5800

Environmental Protection Authority services get $3.3 million boost
More resources to help tackle large increase in environmental assessments
Environment Minister Stephen Dawson has today announced an additional $3.3 million in funding to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation to help tackle the steep increase in State-significant proposals requiring assessment by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

The money will be used for additional resources for the Environmental Protection Authority Services Division, within the department, which supports the independent EPA Board and is responsible for carrying out environmental assessments of significant proposals such as mining, oil and gas, infrastructure, processing plants as well as irrigated agriculture across the State.

As a leading indicator, the Western Australian economy is improving – there has been a significant rise in proposals requiring EPA assessment. The number of EPA assessments has increased from an average of 138 assessments a year in the period from 2013-14 to 2016-17 to 224 assessments last financial year (2017-18).

The additional funding will ensure projects are not delayed through the assessment process, enabling them to move into construction, development and production phases as quickly as possible.

The funding will also be used to support the Appeals Convenor, obtain timely biodiversity advice to inform assessments, and address the backlog in approving environmental management plans for proponents.

To future-proof the EPA from busy periods, the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation is developing an environmental accreditation scheme to enable environmental consultants to conduct assessments to agreed standards.

The McGowan Government is also working on Environmental Protection Act amendments to allow for cost recovery in the future.

The McGowan Government has worked hard to clear the way for industry to flourish in the State, which is driving economic growth.

High priority proposals currently being assessed by the EPA include METRONET; Main Roads projects; Ocean Reef Marina; lithium mines and processing plants; oil and gas proposals; irrigated agriculture; and about 30 large-scale mining proposals.

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Environmental green light for lithium jobs in the South-West

Friday, 9 November 2018
Premier’s office – 6552 5000
Environment Minister’s office – 6552 5800

The McGowan Labor Government has given environmental approval for a lithium manufacturing plant in the State’s South-West, paving the way for more than 500 construction jobs and up to 500 permanent jobs.

The Albemarle lithium plant will be located in the Kemerton Strategic Industrial Area, 17 kilometres north east of Bunbury. The project has received its Ministerial Statement from the State Government.

When in operation, the Albemarle Kemerton Plant will process spodumene ore concentrate, through five process trains, to produce up to 100,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide product. Spodumene ore will be sourced from the Talison Lithium’s Greenbushes mine, which in March 2018 announced an expansion to supply the rapidly expanding global lithium market.

The Albemarle Kemerton Plant will create more than 500 construction jobs with an initial 100 operational jobs, increasing to up to 500 at full operational capacity.

Once constructed, the Albemarle Kemerton Plant will be the second, and largest, lithium hydroxide manufacturing plant to invest in Western Australia in two years.

Earlier this year, the McGowan Government established a Lithium and Energy Materials Industry Taskforce to capitalise on WA’s unique resources and growth in the lithium-ion battery sector.

The taskforce is working across government and closely with industry and research organisations to develop a Lithium and Energy Materials Strategy that unlocks the State’s potential in the sector and delivers local jobs, economic diversification and benefits regional communities.

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