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WA resources sector shines bright on the international stage
Monday, 16 April 2012
Senior staff from the Department of Mines and Petroleum recently travelled to Hong Kong for leading resources conference and exhibition, Mines and Money.
Deputy Director General Dr Tim Griffin attended the event, along with Manager of Mineral Promotion Dr Gaomai Trench.
The event, which attracted almost 3000 attendees from 50 countries, allowed the department to promote the WA resources industry to potential investors.
Dr Griffin and Dr Trench spent most of the time at the department’s exhibition booth, offering advice to delegates on the diverse opportunities for investment in WA.
“Delegates were pleased to know about the department geoscience data system, which was rated the best in the world by the Fraser Institute’s 2011 Global Petroleum Survey, against 135 other destinations,” Dr Griffin said.
“They were also equally impressed when they found out the department allows all operators to lodge mining and exploration applications online – accelerating our assessment times.
“But it was interesting to hear from several Chinese based investors who said they couldn’t access the department’s website, because it is barred in China.”
There was also major interest in the Commonwealth’s recently announced Mineral Resource Rent Tax (MRRT). “It is clearly causing investors to reassess investing in Australia and therefore, WA,” Dr Griffin said.
“As a result, we will definitely need clear information on the application of MRRT when it swings into action, to ensure these investors are making informed decisions.
“The Federal Government’s pending Carbon Tax was also of interest, with many delegates asking when and how it would be applied.”
But the pair weren’t just dedicated to the exhibition booth; they also had the opportunity to attend various presentations throughout the four-day event.
This gave them a deeper insight into how the Asian economies continue to grow and require resources, albeit at a slower rate of growth.
They also gained key information on the issues confronting mining project developments outside Australia – including approvals, access to finance and lack of critical infrastructure.
“We also made the time for one-on-one meetings with several senior representatives from companies that have particular interest in WA,” Dr Griffin said.
One such meeting included representatives from Minerals Invesco and the Hunan Exploration Company, which jointly hold several exploration tenements in WA.
“We met up with their geological teams, giving them a deeper understanding of WA mining legislations, approval processes, and how to access information on our State’s geology,” Dr Griffin said.
“So, of course we promoted the huge amount of new geoscience data coming from the Government’s $80 million Exploration Incentive Scheme.
“They seem pleased we offered so much support and were keen to follow-up with the department during their future visits to Perth.”
Dr Griffin and Dr Trench also met with two arms of the Citic Group, including visiting the head office of Citic Pacific, the company which is investing in the large Sino Iron magnetite project in the Pilbara.
“The discussion further enhanced our understanding of just how important this development is to the company,” Dr Griffin said.
“It also allowed us to confirm the importance of the project to WA, and to emphasise that any issues requiring Government approval need to be raised as early as possible to limit possible delays.”
A meeting was also held with Run Dexin International Investment Holding and China Nonferrous Metals Industry Company – a joint venture that is exploring for copper and gold across WA.
“The operators are clearly optimistic about just how much potential they see in our State,” Dr Griffin said.
In summing up, Dr Griffin said the conference gave him a better understanding of the international trends and forecasts for the resources industry.
“The information we gathered is really helpful to the department, so we can continue to plan for the future – which will have a great impact on the WA resources industry,” he said.
“The meetings had a lot of energy and we are clearly continuing to attract potential investors from China and, in general, Asia.”