New research reveals that 79% of Australians would support more mining – and 51% would support more coal mining – if it would help strengthen the Australian dollar and avoid a recession. 

The findings come despite Australia’s coal mines being estimated to produce 1.8 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year while the country is preparing for net-zero emissions. This on top of the risk of a 2023 recession following this year’s fast-rising inflation and interest rates, and other economic factors.

The findings were derived from a survey of an independent panel of 1,000 Australians commissioned by money transfer comparison platform Send Money Australia, which sought to find out whether Australians would support mining, including coal mining, to strengthen the exchange rate and economy. 

Australian commodities, two-thirds of which are natural resources, saw healthy export volumes in 2022. Australia has maintained its position as the largest exporter of metallurgical coal and the second largest exporter of thermal coal. Coal makes up a large part of the $422 billion of resources and energy exported, and the government forecasts these exports to increase to $450 billion in the 2023 financial year. 

Despite the ongoing climate crisis, research reveals that most Australians are desperate for economic relief and willing to continue with natural resource exports – including coal – to weather the current tough economic period. Send Money Australia found that half of respondents (51%) would support an increase in mining activity, including the mining of coal.

As the world produces the infrastructure required for renewable energy – such as solar panels, wind turbines and battery storage – mining of certain metals and minerals will need to increase. The production of solar power panels requires mined aluminium, copper and other rare earth elements, while wind turbines require earth elements such as iron. 

More than a quarter (28%) of survey respondents would support mining – but would not support coal mining – to strengthen the Australian dollar and avoid economic downturn.

Younger Australians are more likely to support other forms of mining, excluding coal, with more than one third (37%) of those under 35 in support, followed by 25% of 35- to 54-year-olds and 26% of those older than 55.

In 2018, the Australian government commissioned a study on the public perception of mining: it discovered that while mining is considered central to the economy, there was a lack of trust in the process. The mining industry in particular holds a powerful stereotype of negative environment impact, despite the current need for ongoing mining to produce renewable resources.

Send Money Australia found that one-fifth (21%) of Australians would not support mining at all, regardless of whether it would assist the economy. 

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Mark S. Kuhar, editor
[email protected]
(330) 722‐4081
Twitter: @editormarkkuhar