Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

Western Australia looks to Gulf for green deals

Visitors view Rio Tinto's 34MW solar farm at its Gudai-Darri iron ore plant. Western Australia is home to much of the country's mining, steel and fossil fuels industry Reuters/Melanie Burton
Visitors view Rio Tinto's 34MW solar farm at its Gudai-Darri iron ore plant. Western Australia is home to much of the country's mining, steel and fossil fuels industry
  • State’s emissions still rising
  • ‘Dual mission’ with Gulf
  • Goal of 80% green electricity

The state of Western Australia – the heart of the country’s mining, steel and oil and gas industries – is planning partnerships with Arab nations to develop its renewables sector and curb emissions. 

“We’ve got a dual mission,” Reece Whitby, Western Australia’s minister for environment and climate action, told AGBI during Cop28 in Dubai. 

“We’ve got to decarbonise our industries locally. But we’re also encouraged to supply all this stuff [fossil fuels] to the world. So we’ve got a very similar story to the Gulf and believe we can work together.” 

Logo, Text

Western Australia’s emissions rose by 4.5 percent on 2005 levels as of 2020, according to government statistics. The state is working towards a national target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent of 2005 levels by 2030 and increasing the share of renewables to 82 percent of national electricity consumption. 

Australia is the world’s 14th largest emitter of carbon emissions, producing more than 1 percent of global emissions in 2022 despite having less than 0.3 percent of the world’s population, data from Worldometer shows. 

The country recorded the highest per capita emissions from burning coal of all G20 countries last year, nearly doubling that of China, according to energy think tank Ember. 

It is also a major energy exporter due to its natural resources in coal, minerals and natural gas, while fossil fuels cover 92 percent of its domestic energy supply, says the International Energy Agency. 

Western Australia, which covers almost a third of Australia’s land mass, hosts the bulk of the country’s fossil fuel activities and contributes significantly to overall emissions, Whitby said. 

Reece Whitby, Western Australia’s minister for environment and climate actionSupplied
Reece Whitby, Western Australia’s minister for environment and climate action

But while the state is “energy-intensive and heavily reliant on high-emitting industries, the potential for renewable energy is huge, because we’ve got lots of sunlight and so much space”, he said. 

On top of that, Western Australia has more than half of the world’s known reserves of lithium and almost 40 percent of the global supply of iron ore, making it an attractive source of the raw material needed for green steelmaking to support the energy transition, Whitby added. It also has a reputation for mining expertise and innovation. 

The state has spoken with officials in Egypt about developing a curriculum accredited by Western Australian institutions to train students entering Egypt’s mining industry. 

“They’re keen to access their critical minerals and potential for battery and other technologies,” Whitby said. 

Bilateral investment partnerships in renewables and “green” steel (steel produced using renewables) are other examples of the type of deal Western Australia is targeting. This week, Abu Dhabi Ports Group and British steel producer Liberty struck an initial agreement to import magnetite ore to the UAE from Australia to convert to green steel. 

Latest articles

It is hoped the use of AI will speed up the time-consuming process of screening patients for cancer

Mubadala-backed US startup working on AI cancer care

A US genomics startup, backed by Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund Mubadala, is working with ChatGPT creator OpenAI to improve cancer screening and treatment using artificial intelligence models. Color Health, which uses data science and machine learning for genetic testing and counselling in hereditary cancer and heart conditions, has developed an AI assistant, or “copilot”, […]

Gems operates more than 60 schools with over 130,000 students across the Middle East and North Africa

Brookfield to invest in Dubai’s Gems Education

A consortium led by Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management is to invest in Gems Education, the UAE’s private school operator. Other members of the group include Gulf Islamic Investments, Marathon Asset Management and the State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Financial details were not disclosed but the investment is expected to be almost $2 […]

Two companies are dominant in the lithium industry – Chile’s SQM and US business Albemarle. In 2023, each commanded about 20 percent of global supply

Saudi Arabia targets Chile for lithium investments

Saudi Arabia’s mining minister Bandar Alkhorayef will visit Chile next month to negotiate a deal to secure lithium to support the kingdom’s ambition to expand its electric vehicle (EV) sector, a news report said. Alkhorayef will meet with his counterpart in Santiago, Reuters reported, quoting a Chilean government statement. The report said the two officials will discuss […]

Oman's tourism revenue increase was driven by a 15 percent rise in hotel guest numbers

Luxury hotel revenues in Oman rise to $242m

Oman’s luxury hotels continued to make money in April as the number of guests surged. The revenue of three- to five-star hotels rose 11 percent year on year to OMR93 million ($242 million), the state-run Oman News Agency said, quoting the National Centre for Statistics and Information data. The revenue increase was driven by a […]