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Implications of the Interim report on Commonwealth environmental protection laws

Professor Graeme Samuel recently released his Interim Report of the Independent Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). The report is highly critical of the EPBC Act, reporting that it neither ensures effective environmental and biodiversity protections nor efficiently regulates business.


In the report, Professor Samuel makes several recommendations, some of which have already become priority areas for the government. These have significant implications for the energy and resources industry. 

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How foreign investment changes may impact the mining and energy sector

In early June 2020, the government announced a review of the foreign investment rules, expanding them to apply to all foreign investors in anything deemed a ‘sensitive national security business’. The changes are scheduled to come into effect on 1 January 2021.

There are concerns that this will impact foreign investment in the mining and energy sectors, and in particular the critical minerals space. 

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Digital transformation in mining and energy

As the global shift to remote work gathers pace, it is more important than ever that the mining and energy sector embraces technology. But a digital transformation offers more than flexible working arrangements. It has the potential to drastically cut down on industrial accidents, optimise operational processes and slash costs.

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Why hydrogen is becoming an important energy source

Hydrogen as an energy source continues to grow in popularity. Once confined to industrial processes such as refining crude oil, it is now being recognised as a potential solution to the problems of electricity generation, transportation and storage.

Over the next thirty years, global energy demand is predicted to grow by at least 30-40%. At the same time, the share of energy generated from fossil fuels has stayed almost static at 81%. While renewable energy technologies such as solar and wind are getting cheaper, they can only be generated on an intermittent basis. To make them commercially practical to use, they must be combined with high-energy batteries and backed with other energy sources.