Originally Posted by PakJai
It also creates a lot of pollution and ruins the landscapes. The fact that it will cost more mining elsewhere means prices for electronics would go up too.
And if you read the last bit of my comment you would realise that I mentioned prices would go up. But they will go up regardless. They are finite, so they will at some point be exhausted. Only an idiot would not expect prices to rise.
Its the way things work. When you have a highly sort after, finite resource, prices will dramatically increase as the deposits diminish. It is happening with almost all resources atm. Raw material costs continue to increase (Oil, Copper, Gold just to name a few).
To your point about pollution, very true. It does pollute and requires huge amounts of water and electricity. However, ultimately, we NEED to mine. The world relies on it. In Australia we are lucky that our country has huge quantities of raw materials and because the country is so big and not highly populated (one of the least densley populated countries in the world) mining doesn't have as big an impact as it would elsewhere.
We are also lucky in that at the current point, we have one of the best economies in the world, highly advanced technology and a population that is concious about the environment. Which has caused mining companies in Australia to adopt the strictest and safest procedures in the world. I work for Conocophillips and trust me, compared to the US, Australia is light years ahead of the US when it comes to work safety and environmental safeguards.
So yes, the prices will increase and it does pollute but Australia is probably in a better position than any other country in the world to deal with those issues. As our technology, safety procedures and environmental awareness is far greater than what is currently in operation in the USA (or anywhere else for that matter) at this point in time.
However, due to those stricter regulations, it also costs more to mine in Australia than say, China. So that is why companies like Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton are holding back. In the end, for me as an Australian citizen (and living in the state which is soon to be home to the worlds largest open-cut mine) I will reap the benefits as the economy will continue to get stronger and stronger. Also being an Environmental Scientist it means that I have more job opportunities opened up to me.
Yes, it sucks for everyone else who won't be able to take advantage of the situation, but for us Aussie's, life is good at the moment.
I just hope we start building refineries in Australia and stop outsourcing it to China and then buying the end product back off them. If we do that, well Australia's economy will continue to go from strength to strength for the foreseeable future