Even though there are mistakes and accidents in the Australian mining industry, I believe it has the answer to Tesla’s problem of obtaining enough resources for its ongoing production needs while being respectful of communities, transparent in its transactions, and protective of its workforce.
Earlier this year, Rio Tinto made the tragic mistake of damaging ancient rock art and an important sacred site for Australia’s first people and her archeologists. Restitution has been made and restorative work commenced. Just last week, a miner was killed in a collapse in another mine. An investigation is underway.
In many countries rich in resources, these incidents are too common to report and are not deemed worthy of investigation. Australian mining companies are well aware of their obligations and reputations.
Tesla is moving into battery manufacturing in a big way and needs massive amounts of resources that can come only from massive mines. Tesla needs to balance increasing demand for electric vehicles and the fact that activists, car buyers, and investors want every step of the EV production process to be respectful towards the environment and affected communities.
Tesla will need to be transparent — winning support by providing information in a culturally sensitive way, and at the right time. It will need to demonstrate that mining operations for its products have a low environmental impact (unlike lithium mining from salt brine in South America or cobalt mining in the Congo).
Even though Tesla makes great effort to educate and get buy-in from all stakeholders, there can still be pushback from locals, as is occurring in Berlin. There is still a lot of misinformation about the environmental damage done by producing electric vehicles. The FUD has not gone away, and unfortunately some staunch environmentalists believe it.
Nonetheless, I firmly believe that Tesla’s need for resources can be met by Australia’s mining industry. I am sure Robyn Denholm would agree with me.
Stimulation for this story from Mining.com.
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