Miners and environmentalists have reached an uneasy truce over lithium – both agree Australia should be mining more of this key ingredient in renewable energy batteries

“Where are you going to find experienced lithium miners? That’s like finding unicorns,” laughs James Brown, the managing director of Western Australian resources firm Altura Mining.

Brown is the next best thing. Hailing from a family five generations deep in coal mining, the burly Queenslander never imagined he’d be applying his expertise to digging out a key building block of a low-carbon economy.

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