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Asked how a drop in exploration will affect mining in Australia, he said exploration is driven by global prices and would only be a worry if prices continued to fall for more than 5 or 6 years in a row.
“We do need to have a healthy and robust exploration ecology, because only through exploration do you find the new mines, but at the moment I’m pretty comfortable with where we are and where we’re progressing,” said Mr Gray
He said moving into a production phase from one of construction requires a range of different skills and responses from the Government and from the companies themselves.
Mr Gray said he believed the Resources Super Profit Tax had deep flaws in how it was conceived and structured, but the Mining Resources Rent Tax is a different form of taxation and coal, iron ore and minerals producers are currently paying more to State and Commonwealth revenues than ever before.
Tony Abbott`s Vision “” Look North
Liberal leader Tony Abbott wants to develop Australia’s north into mining and agricultural hub by 2030.
Australia has ridden on the back of iron ore in WA and coal mining in Qld for the last ten years. Now with infrastructure in place and many large mining companies moving to production, some Northern miners and politicians are hoping Abbott`s plan will exploit reserves of gold, diamonds and oil to benefit the far North with mine jobs and additional revenues.
Geologists say the Northern Territory has massive deposits of diamond, gold and uranium reserves and the Canada-based Fraser Institute, which measures the attractiveness and ease of mining, ranks the territory one of the best areas to invest in Australia.
His critics point to a lack of detail in his plans and the failure of previous schemes due to lack of follow-through by government and poor economic support.
“Northern Australia is well placed to capitalise on the significant economic, strategic and environmental macro-trends that will shape both the Asian and tropical regions,” said Mr Abbott in launching his plan. “No longer will northern Australia be seen as the last frontier, it is the next frontier”
Mr Abbott’s plan calls for better outback roads and railways and dams to transform arid regions into a “food bowl” to double agricultural output and boost mineral exports.
Over the past 10 years, $450 billion worth of new mining projects and jobs poured into Australia with the focus mostly on iron ore mining in Western Australia, the vast coal mines of Queensland and Indian Ocean gas fields.
Willem Westra van Holthe, the Northern Territory Minister for Mines and Energy says: “This (Abbott) plan says the Northern Territory is open for business.”
Mr Abbott has promised to deliver a White Paper on his plans for the North within 12 months of coming to office, but not all interested parties are convinced of its viability.
A fifth of the Northern Territory is now owned or controlled by aboriginal groups and Mr Abbott will need to convince them of the benefits of mining if he is to see a new resources opportunity.
A recent report in Australian Mining suggests: “Australian governments need to do more to tighten their budgets, but also continue to invest heavily in training, skills and education to help workers and citizens respond to the changing risks and opportunities of a globalised economy. In simple terms, the Government needs to lift it’s game and realise the future of Australia lies in the hands of the people who live here. Without the right help, assistance and vision from the Government to kick-start the types of training and up-skilling initiatives, Australia could face more competition from global markets which could affect our quality of life.
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