Monday, January 10, 2022

Barrier Reef islands are GROWING

Warmists are always prophecying that Pacific islands will go underwater as a result of global warming of the ocean, with coral cays being particularly vulnerable.

But actual evidence below shows us that the opposite is happening. Coral cays are in fact GROWING. Any effect of global warming is more than cancelled out by other processes.

Basing predictions on just one of many potentially influential factors is dumb and very unscientific

A scientific field trip to a small group of deserted islands on the Great Barrier Reef has its roots in a 1928 expedition and has implications for the future of the reef.

A team of researchers from the University of Wollongong led by Associate Professor Sarah Hamylton visited the Howick islands, about 130 kilometres north-east of Cooktown, in far northern Queensland, last year and found the mangroves were expanding.

“What’s particularly interesting for a lot of the islands in the Howick group that we are mapping and investigating is that they are growing,” Associate Professor Hamylton says.

“Most of the islands we have looked at are predominantly made up of broken up corals, which waves then sweep and deposit on the island. This coral sediment is responsible for building up the islands. Add in mangrove forests and you can see that these islands are actually growing. Some mangrove forests are marching forwards by up to five to six metres per year,” she explains.

Associate Professor Hamylton says the group was able to compare aerial images taken by a drone with hand-drawn maps created in 1928 and photographs from 1974.

“This research was started back in 1928 with an expedition known as the Great Barrier Reef Low Isles Expedition.”

In July 1928, British and Australian scientists undertook a journey to investigate the biggest coral reef in the world. They spent 13 months wandering reefs and islands, looking at ocean conditions and growth rate of corals.

“Two members of the Great Barrier Reef Low Isles Expedition were particularly interested in how old the reef islands around here are and how were they formed,” says Associate Professor Hamylton.

“The researchers observed ocean waves and tidal currents transporting loose coral sediments derived from the underlying reef platform and depositing these to form the islands. Sometimes these cays or islands may remain unconsolidated and move around with the seasons. But over time, the larger cays built up to be above the sea level and become covered in vegetation, which stabilises them into more permanent features.”

Forty-five years later, in 1973-74, another group of researchers, the Royal Society and Universities of Queensland Expedition, decided to partially retrace the footsteps of the researchers from the 1928 expedition. They concentrated on remapping the Howick group, as well as other islands further north, in more detail. By remapping the islands and collecting more data on mangrove forest vegetation, the researchers believed they could inspire subsequent studies.

The information caught the eye of Associate Professor Hamylton who has a keen interest in geomorphology, which examines how landscapes such as the islands on the Great Barrier Reef form and are shaped over time.

“When I looked over the maps from 1928, then some aerial photos from 1974, I then compared these maps and images with recent satellite imagery from the internet and could plainly see that the islands had increased in size. Especially since 1974.”


Both coal and iron selling well

A teeth-grinder for the Greenies

Thermal coal is back on the up after Indonesia, one of the world’s largest exporters, introduced an export ban this week.

While some analysts believe it will be short-lived, it is driving pressure on prices in the short term, with energy coal climbing almost 10% overnight according to Commsec.

Australian coal miners are enjoying buoyant prices for the commodity right now, helping them recover from the dark early days of the pandemic.

Terracom (ASX:TER), which owns the Blair Athol mine in Queensland as well as operations in South Africa, is a case in point. Across the June quarter last year coal from Blair Athol in the Bowen Basin fetched US$94.1/t on average, at a time when the company was working on a now completed refinancing package to reduce its operating risk.

In the December quarter, the company announced today, it sold its Australian coal at an average of $219/t.

It delivered 502,000t from Blair Athol across the December quarter and plans to produce 2.3Mt this financial year.

That would have been even more had a third 79,000t shipment in December, delayed to January 5 because of wet weather, set sail before the end of the year.

Terracom’s two December shipments average a sail price of $213/t Aussie.

Iron ore continues to defy forecasts of its decline early in 2022 with strong buying from traders ahead of next month’s Beijing Winter Olympics spurring the commodity to its strongest prices in around three months.

Prices for benchmark 62% iron ore on some indexes topped US$128/t overnight, while futures have also rallied.

Singapore 62% swaps for February, which sunk to US$85.17/t in mid November, are now buying US$126.85, while Dalian Futures for May delivery are similar solid, trading at US$111.66/t today.

It has driven the big end of town to a strong finish to the year’s first trading week.

Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) was up ~3.2% to lead the large cap stocks on the ASX, pushing its share price back through the important $20 a share barrier to $20.38.

Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) also extended its gains above $100 to $103.39, rising 2.15%, while BHP (ASX:BHP) gained 2.23% to climb to $43.63.

The materials sector was up 1.16% and 2.29% for the week despite the ASX’s massive Thursday fall, and 8.53% higher over the past month, driven by rising prices and interest in iron ore miners and lithium stocks


Top doctor Nick Coatsworth tells parents NOT to worry if they can't get their children vaccinated before they go back to school

One of Australia's top doctors has urged parents to 'leave fear behind' and not worry if they can't book their kids in to get the Covid-19 vaccine before school returns.

Monday marks another milestone in Australia's vaccine roll-out with ages 5-11 now eligible to get the jab as Covid cases surge towards 100,000 daily infections.

Australia's former deputy chief medical officer Dr Nick Coatsworth urged concerned parents who can't get an appointment for weeks to not worry if their kids aren't vaccinated before the start of term one, despite the Omicron surge.

'I wanted to remind parents of that, that this is primarily a disease that affects adults severely and affects children mildly,' he told the Today show on Monday.

'So if you're a parent, as I am, I don't think we need to get concerned about how quickly we get our five to 11-year-olds vaccinated, in particular, do not be concerned if you can't get an appointment before school goes back.

'I don't think I will be able to get an appointment before school goes back. I might for my kids. But I won't be concerned if that's not the case.'

He rejected growing calls for the start of the 2022 school year to be delayed, amid concerns students would contract Covid in the classroom and pass it on family members at home.

'That's absolutely a concern. But it needn't be,' Dr Coatsworth continued.

'The US just released their data on mortality, on death, in fully vaccinated individuals and across an entire community, it's 0.003 per cent.'

'We have got to leave this fear behind and replace it with facts.'

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews ruled out a delayed return to the classroom, unlike their Queensland counterpart Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Students in the Sunshine State had their return to school delayed by a fortnight until February 7 as Queensland recorded 18,000 new Covid cases on Sunday.

Years 11 and 12 will spend the first week from January 31 learning from home.

But Dr Coatsworth insisted no state should delay the return to school.

'Every government and medical expert in this country needs to follow the lead of the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund, which both state that schools should be the last to close and the first to open,' he said.

'We are not in a situation in Australia that requires a delay to schools opening.'

He added parents should be reassured rapid antigen testing will play a vital role in students returning to school with a 'test to stay' strategy implemented in the UK and many European countries.

'That is the only sustainable option, actually,' Dr Coatsworth said.

'If there's a case in the classroom, you test the remaining children, if they're negative on a rapid test, they remain in the classroom because it's a mild diseases in children,

'Because we will gradually vaccinate our five to 11-year-old population, that's going to be a safe thing to do. I do think that all states and territories should take that approach.'


Australian lithium miners are happy

A shortage of the battery raw material lithium needed to supply the world’s switch from combustion engines to electric cars is on course to prolong last year’s stunning price rally, lifting the outlook for miners of the sought-after mineral across Australia.

As the era of electric vehicles (EVs) begins to accelerate, carmakers worldwide have been racing to lock in reliable supplies of lithium-ion battery raw ingredients including lithium, nickel and cobalt, which are urgently required to roll out more EVs but are failing to keep up with ballooning demand.

The supply crunch sparked a stunning rally last year in prices for lithium, one of the key building blocks for EV batteries. Cargoes of hard-rock lithium concentrate known as spodumene sent from Australia averaged about $US400 a tonne in 2020 and are fetching $US2000 today.

A one-off cargo sold at auction by ASX-listed miner Pilbara Minerals in the September quarter sold for a staggering $US2240 a tonne.

Analysts have now begun updating their forecasts on the assumption that market tightness is likely to persist well into 2022 and the rally could have further to run.

“Sector fundamentals remain strong with spot spodumene prices set to increase significantly this quarter and contract prices still playing catch-up,” said Bank of America analyst Jack Gabb, who predicts one-off spot prices could rise as high as $US3900 a tonne at Pilbara Minerals’ next auction.

Bank of America last week lifted its share price targets for a number of ASX-listed lithium producers including Allkem (16 per cent higher), Pilbara Minerals (13 per cent) and IGO (3 per cent).

While lithium prices fell sharply in 2018 as a rush of new supply projects collided with a slowdown in EV sales, optimism about the EV revolution has since returned. EV uptake has been building strongly in key markets of the US, Europe and China and carmakers are expanding their electric vehicle lines. Governments are setting deadlines to phase out combustion-engine vehicles and unleashing stimulus packages targeting transport electrification, while investors are betting that EVs will account for 40 per cent of new vehicle sales by 2030.

Australia is the world’s biggest producer of lithium and accounts for an estimated 30 per cent of known resources. Most lithium in Australia, however, is exported as spodumene concentrate, rather than refined battery-ready material.

Lithium producers across Australia and worldwide are scurrying to increase capacity — reopening mothballed mines and developing new projects — driving an estimated 36 per cent increase in lithium supply in 2022, according to Bank of America.

However, the increase will be insufficient to keep pace with near-term demand. “Hence, we expect spot pricing to remain elevated,” Mr Gabb said.

Morgan Stanley analyst Rachel Zhang said lithium supply tightness was expected to remain during the first half of 2022 before some “loosening” was possible in the second half as new supply came to market. “That said, considering normally better lithium consumption in the second half, tight market balance is still likely then,” she said.

Despite the need for more lithium mines to electrify the transport sector, which presently accounts for about one-fifth of planet-heating greenhouse gas emissions globally, community opposition to new mines built amid concerns about environmental damage could constrain supply even further.

Rio Tinto, Australia’s second-biggest mining company, has been facing an intensifying backlash against its plan to develop the $US2.4 billion ($3.3 billion) Jadar lithium mine in western Serbia. Last month, campaigners filled Belgrade’s streets in protest, leading to local authorities suspending an allocation of land for the project.




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