The Labor government has once again made a move to allow more mining in the Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA).
The move could create 1000s of South Australian mining jobs by opening up the way for easier access to the area.
Labor called for the Coalition to pass a bill through parliament that could impact on the future mining activities of the region. Recently a collection of officials recommended that the Senate should not support Labor`s WPA amendment bill, which cast a shadow on †access arrangements for the future.
“multi-billion dollar mining projects”
The new laws would once again encourage mining activity and create much needed South Australian mining jobs. This would be welcomed by the local community and business owners who have been hit hard, with mining companies like BHP pulling out of multi-billion dollar mining projects.
“an avalanche of mining jobs”
The Olympic Dam project was slated to be one of the biggest mining projects in Australia and would have created an avalanche of mining jobs as well as provide the South Australian government with a bucket load of tax revenues. It’s also well worth mentioning the jobs chasm that has been created owing to the exit of Holden, as they prepare to close the car manufacturing plant in 2017.
Labor senator Don Farrell said, “We have to replace the South Australian jobs that we have lost with Holden, and mining is one way we can do it.”
“The Labor Party will support it and it should be a matter of urgency; we don`t have a moment to waste to replace those jobs.”
Defence Minister David Johnston introduced the amended bill, however the opposition fears the Coalition could delay the progress by not listing it for debate.
“billions and billions of dollars of potential projects”
South Australian treasurer Tom Koutsantonis also hinted that investment in South Australia was being stifled by Defence and the federal government.
“There are billions and billions of dollars of potential projects in that area . . . we need them to get up and running,” he said.
Woomera mining update
Mining is allowed in the Woomera Protected Area, although the applications process can prove difficult. Mining companies have been previously rejected on the grounds of national security, as was the case in 2009 when a Chinese investor tried to apply for a mining lease.
In 2010, the commissioning of the Hawke Review addressed conflict between mineral explorers and Defence in the WPA.
In 2011 the Labor government released yet another report which recommended a new management framework for the WPA, however in typical Australian government style, that legislation has been scuttled and remains on some minister’s desk gathering dust awaiting further discussion.
Given the resource sector in Australia has suffered some heavy hits in the last year or so, more South Australian mining jobs would be a shot in the arm for the entire industry and raise the level of optimism the industry so desperately needs.
Woomera historical facts
Located 450 kilometres from Adelaide with an area of 124,000 square kilometres, the WPA is currently an Australian military testing range used not only by Australian forces, but also its allies. Long range and experimental weapons are tested there, and it is notorious as the site of nuclear weapons testing during the Cold War.
The WPA is thought to contain $35 billion worth of resources, which includes about 70 per cent of Australia’s copper reserves.
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