Australia's resources export sector is soaring in spite of the global movement to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics' International Trade in Goods and Services data for September 2021 has revealed resources exports generated $332.6 billion for the year to September.
Federal Resources and Water Minister Keith Pitt said soaring demand for coal and liquefied natural gas was fuelling the surge in export revenues.
"Total resources and energy exports were $95.9b for the three months to September 2021, which is 50pc higher than for the same period last year and 11pc higher than in the previous three months to June 2021," Mr Pitt said.
Iron ore exports for the 12 months to September totalled $167.3b. For the three months to September iron ore exports hit $44.4b, up 48pc on the same period last year.
Exports of liquefied natural gas skyrocketed by 130pc to $13.9b for the quarter to September 2021 and were 59pc higher than the previous three months.
According to the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, the increase in value was reflective of LNG price increases throughout the year.
"Prices are recovering from some of the very low prices seen during 2020, reflecting the impacts of COVID-19," an APPEA spokesperson said.
Mr Pitt said coal had also been an outstanding performer.
"Exports climbed to $16.3b in the three months to September 2021, up 80pc on the same period last year and 47pc higher than for the previous three months to June 2021," he said.
Close to 140 gigawatts of new coal plants are under construction, the International Energy Agency has found.
In the IEA's World Energy Outlook 2021 report coal demand in the Asia-Pacific is projected to grow over the next decade. By 2050 the region will account for 84pc of global demand.
"India leads this demand growth, increasing from 557 million tonnes to 729mt by 2030, and in South East Asia from 257mt to 338mt in the same period," Mr Pitt said.
Mr Pitt said the coal sector directly and indirectly supports the jobs of 300,000 Australians and generates around $50b in exports each year and that won't be changing anytime soon.
"The reality is that demand for Australian coal and gas, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, will increase over the next decade and beyond as countries seek to meet growing energy demands," he said.
Minerals Council of Australia CEO Tania Constable said mineral and energy exports have been the foundation of the Australian economy for more than a decade and were now driving the nation's post-pandemic recovery.
"Robust demand for industrial metals like iron ore, copper and aluminium, coupled with recovering energy demand in our main trading partners, has driven higher commodity prices over the last six months," Ms Constable said.
Both the MCA and APPEA support the government's commitment to net zero by 2050 targets.
"To achieve net zero emissions there must be a continued focus on developing and deploying all technologies including carbon capture and storage in countries using thermal coal and gas for power generation, as well as for the production of hydrogen from coal and gas sources," Ms Constable said.
The reality is that demand for Australian coal and gas, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, will increase over the next decade and beyond as countries seek to meet growing energy demands.- Keith Pitt
Mr Pitt said Australia had already shown it can reduce emissions and support a strong resources sector at the same time.
"Our emissions have fallen by more than 20pc over the last 15 years, well ahead of countries including New Zealand, the US, and Canada," he said.
"As the government has stated, developing technologies like carbon capture and storage will support the continued use of coal for electricity generation."
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