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Resourcing Innovation



Here Comes the Sun…

Queensland’s natural resources sector is helping the Sunshine State to become one of the sustainable power houses of the world.

More of our electricity is coming from solar panels on the roofs of homes throughout the state,

with solar “farms” also adding to the energy grid as they spring up.

The domestic solar panel penetration rate in Queensland is already the highest in the world but electricity companies are reporting ongoing installations as families take advantage of plentiful sun.

The role played by the natural resources sector in this solar phenomenon however cannot be overstated.

For example, the manufacture of each solar panel requires 16 metals and minerals, including coal, bauxite and alumina, copper, silica and titanium (both sourced from mineral sands), lead, lithium, tellurium, cadmium and iron ore. Each plays a vital role in the construction and operation of every solar panel on every roof. And Queensland is a leading producer of coal, bauxite, copper and alumina, mineral sands and lead. Queensland also has some exciting lithium prospects.

Commercial-scale solar farms are even more significant users of resources and processed minerals.

Resource company Rio Tinto, together with partner First Solar Inc., has delivered Australia’s first commercial diesel displacement solar plant near its bauxite operations at Weipa on the western coast of Cape York.

At its peak, the 1.7 megawatt capacity collar power plant will be able to support up to 20 percent of the Weipa township’s daily electricity demand of around 3,300 residents.