The next energy transition is upon us, and the challenges are in energy storage rather than production, according to David Thurtell, who is manager of resources and energy with the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science for the Australian government.

Speaking with the Investing News Network at the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) in Melbourne, Australia, Thurtell said that the minerals the sector will need to focus more on are battery metals like cobalt and graphite.

“The world doesn’t have any trouble producing renewable energy — the trouble is how to you get baseload,” he said, highlighting battery tech as the way to bridge gaps in renewable energy production.


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Thurtell was at IMARC to deliver an address on Australia’s mining landscape. He talked about the increasing urbanization of Asia, and how development in countries other than China means demand for Australian resources is going to stay up — though China is still very much developing fast.

“The outlook is for still ongoing strength in demand for resource and energy commodities,” he said.

On the energy front, Thurtell said that the ongoing transition to renewable energy around the world means that the declining prospects of the thermal coal market will be well and truly offset in Australian mining as Australia sits on significant reserves of nickel, copper, cobalt and lithium; the country is even the world leader in lithium production.

“We think Australia is really well placed to produce more of those metals, which in some way will compensate for probably what is a less optimistic outlook for things like thermal coal,” said Thurtell.

“The need for nickel and copper going forward is going to be immense — same with lithium, cobalt and other renewable-type resources.

“We’ve got significant resources and we’re keen to get those out of the ground and developed to help the world to transition to using more renewable energy and emitting less carbon.”

Listen to the full interview above for more of Thurtell’s thoughts on the state of the Australian mining industry and its outlook. You can also click here for our full playlist of IMARC interviews.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Scott Tibballs, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.


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