27 January What to expect in 2022 January 27, 2022 By AMPLA Admin General, Resources and Energy 0 Despite an unpredictable two years, the energy and resources sector has weathered tumultuous conditions and come through stronger. All signs indicate that 2022 and beyond will see strong growth in demand and exciting new developments. Despite an unpredictable two years, the energy and resources sector has weathered tumultuous conditions and come through stronger. All signs indicate that 2022 and beyond will see strong growth in demand and exciting new developments. Resources and Energy Quarterly has predicted that Australia’s resource and energy exports will increase from $310 billion to a new record of $379 billion in the financial year to June 2022. This will be driven by volume growth, a weak Australian dollar and high commodity prices. However, not all minerals will benefit equally. While iron ore prices are expected to decline, coal prices continue to surge as new markets are uncovered across Asia. Copper prices had a stellar year in 2021 reaching record highs of $14,979 per tonne driven by demand for clean energy technologies. But copper isn’t expected to reach record highs in the coming year, with prices impacted by increased production in China and easing of supply issues in Latin America. Growth in demand for copper is anticipated to continue as it’s an important metal in the development of electric vehicles. Another mineral expected to see increased prices is nickel but these may take five years to reach their peak. Over 2022 prices are expected to weaken as the market for nickel tightens. A key issue in the demand for nickel is the need to convert Class 2 nickel ore into Class 1 so that it can be used in the battery industry. Without this car producers will continue to search for alternative resources to produce components. One option to nickel is lithium which is expected to significantly increase production in the coming years. Exports are also expected to rise for lithium thanks to increased demand from the electric vehicle market. There is however still expected to be considerable change ahead that will continue to impact the growth and pricing in the industry. New extraction techniques could change the supply market for lithium, while demand will continue to accelerate as green industries accelerate. While gold experienced significant lows in 2021, with its first calendar year price decline since 2018, it’s expected to bounce back in the coming year. Some factors that are believed to have contributed to gold’s price in 2021 include a rising US dollar and the increase in cryptocurrencies. While it was a rocky year for the gold price, the trend was positive in the final few months and is expected to continue to rise as investors look for safe options amidst continued market volatility. We can expect to see demand for rare earth minerals to continue to grow throughout the next decade boosted by the demand for electric vehicles and decarbonisation technology. It’s anticipated demand for electric vehicles could grow by up to 40 times in the next 20 years which translates into an increase in demand for rare earth elements of up to 15 times. Australia is the third-largest rare earth oxide resource in the world and can expect to benefit from the impending boom. New projects like the Arafura Resources’ Nolans rare earth project are expected to be developed. Key to growth will be our ability to not just extract rare earth minerals but also to process them, with our largest competitor, China, currently seeking to dominate the market. According to the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) the outlook for gas in Western Australia also looks solid with supply estimated to meet demand until the end of 2024. To ensure the market can continue to meet supply there is the opportunity to develop additional gas reserves in the state. This is based on gas demand increasing as the reliance on coal declines. Overall the signs look positive for the industry in 2022 and beyond. Challenges with decarbonisation and improving clean energy resources continue, and bring with them exciting opportunities to transform the sector. Related Articles What to expect from Brazil’s new government On October 30, Brazil elected Luis Inaclo Lula da Silva (Lula) to be its new President. Lula will take over from President Jair Bolsonaro on 1 January 2023. During his campaign, Lula hinted at some reforms that would potentially impact the energy and mining sector, particularly in relation to his environmental and climate agenda. What to expect from the new Australian government? In May, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) achieved a majority government while the Greens and independents hold the balance of power in the Senate. This signals a new era for Australia, with voters clearly putting climate change high on the agenda for the next three years. COMMUNITY LEGAL RIGHTS IN MINE CLOSURE PLANNING; A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THREE AUSTRALIAN STATES Professor Alex Gardner, University of Western Australia Law School, and Laura Hamblin, formerly research associate at the UWA Law School, 2021 Why does the Mining Act 1978 (WA) not provide secure legal rights for community consultation in relation to mining lease proposals and mine closure plans? Addressing this question presents an important theme for this comparative review of some core features of the regulatory frameworks for mine closure in three Australian States. It also raises important questions for future legal research. Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria have prominent but vastly different, and thus uniquely significant, mining industries. Western Australia’s mining industry has a long history of large and smaller scale mining of a diverse range of minerals by various methods that pose significant mine rehabilitation challenges.[i] Queensland’s mining industry is similarly large and diverse, dominated by export coal production, and planning future minerals development in a decarbonising world.[ii] Victoria has a smaller mining industry with a large historical legacy dominated by a coal mining industry for domestic electricity generation in the Latrobe Valley, which is closing as the State actively transitions to renewable power sources.[iii] These States also have significant differences in the regulation of their mining industries. What all three States do have in common is the significance of their mining industries to both the State economy and the communities who depend on or live near mining operations. Importantly, all three States are confronting large legal and regulatory challenges in managing mine rehabilitation and closure. The key to addressing these challenges is effective mine closure planning: the closure of a mine site has ripple effects that are not merely environmental and economic, but social and cultural too. The initial approval of a mine closure plan occurs before any mining has begun and, with the life cycle of a mine often spanning decades, regulatory bodies are approving hypothetical closure scenarios, potentially subject to vast changes. Regulatory bodies may then seek to enforce closure requirements enshrined in a plan that may wane in relevance as mining operations progress, the updating of which may depend on the miner. Yet remedying the regulatory system so that it creates adaptable but consistently effective mine closure outcomes for affected communities still begins at planning. Although that planning is an iterative process across the life of the mine, it is very important at the initial stage of approval. Recent legislative reforms in all three States are adding to the regulatory rigour and adaptability of mine closure planning, though there are very different legal requirements for community consultation. This article aims to explain and assess the regulatory reforms by undertaking a comparative analysis of mine closure planning across Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria, with a focus on the initial approval stage and how stakeholders and communities are brought into that process. The facilitation of continuous and comprehensive community engagement is critical to ensuring that mine closure planning accounts for environmental, economic, social, cultural and safety outcomes after mine closure, but it has not been possible to consider here the process of ongoing mine closure planning, especially for amending mine closure plans and determining satisfaction of mine closure plans leading to resource tenure relinquishment.[iv] The article begins by considering core concepts of mine closure planning and the regulatory goals that inform it. It then provides a comparative overview of each State’s mine closure planning requirements under the mineral resources, environmental and land use planning laws and draws out some of the different regulatory structures and processes for mine closure within each State. The third step in our analysis compares the ways in which those laws provide for local communities’ participation in mine closure planning, with specific attention to whether the regulatory provisions create legally enforceable rights for effective community engagement. The article concludes with a summary of the key points from the discussion of three themes in our analysis: (i) the importance of clear definitions of core concepts and key goals, (ii) mine closure planning as an essential part of a mining proposal, and (iii) the legal definition of community engagement and consultation rights. Mine closure planning and implementation is necessarily influenced by many other spheres of law including taxation law, investment law, water law, and the rights of traditional owners, to name a few. A potentially directly relevant Commonwealth law is the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth), which may require environmental impact assessment of a mining proposal and closure plan and lead to approval conditions supplementing State requirements.[v] Whilst acknowledging the importance of these adjacent spheres of the regulatory frameworks for effective mine closure planning, this article does not attempt to address their impact. In particular, the rights of Traditional Custodians are a crucial part of mine closure planning that are only briefly noted here and that would benefit from future research. WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, Major Commodities Review 2022-23”. Qld Government, Department of Resources, Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan, June 022. Vic Government, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, Latrobe Valley Regional Rehabilitation Strategy. See L Hamblin, A Gardner, Y Haigh, Mapping the Regulatory Framework of Mine Closure, May 2022, CRC TiME, for a broader exploration of the full life cycle of mine closure regulation. In Buzzacott v Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities  FCAFC 111; (2013) 214 FCR 301, , -, referring to the range of approval conditions, which included mine closure. In setting conditions under the EPBC Act, the Commonwealth Minister must consider any relevant conditions under State or Territory law: at  citing Lansen v Minister for Environment and Heritage (2008) 174 FCR 14. What the Federal budget and election mean for the sector The Federal election has now been set for May 21st and follows the recent 2022/23 Federal Budget announcement and Opposition’s reply. The Liberal party’s budget positions the energy and resources sector for growth with $2.4 billion allocated to the industry, energy and emissions reduction portfolio. The budget included an investment of $1.3 billion to maintain energy security and reduce the pressure on prices while encouraging emissions reduction. What the FIRB? An update on Australia’s foreign investment rules for energy and resources What law firms and in-house legal are doing to combat the threat of coronavirus The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is drastically changing how we live, work and even play. For law firms and in-house legal practitioners, that means balancing the concerns of your clients with safeguarding your own staff. In some ways, small firms have an advantage over their larger counterparts. Moving to remote or online work is simpler with fewer moving parts to accommodate. On the other hand, it can be challenging to meet the increased needs of your clients at this anxious time. For in-house legal services, the size of the challenge becomes one of risk management for their organisation. But even those with strong governance and business continuity plans in place are struggling to manage many of the unprecedented issues they’re facing today. Showing 0 Comment Comments are closed.