The North Western region of Australia, Pilbara, is about to undergo a change as environmental activists are toiling hard in the red ochre dust. Although till recently companies like Altura Mining were not contributing anything to curbing global carbon emissions, the decline in prices of coal and iron ore – the main source of income of Pilbara – have forced the mining companies to get into the business of neodymium and yttrium rare earths for the magnets used in wind turbines and gallium and indium used in solar panels and energy-efficient lighting. All these materials have different levels of supply capacity in relation to demand. The supply chain of materials needed for battery systems vital for storing the intermittent energy output of solar and wind and the powering of fleets of electric cars are very low, compared to their demand.
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