Parliamentary Speeches, Debates and Public Statements about the Alice Springs to Darwin Railway since Self - Government
Hawthorne, Marilyn; Northern Territory Library. Parliamentary Library Service
Research Papers; ParliamentNT; Research paper; no. 2
Contact Library & Archives NT for this resource; Made available by via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT)
Railroads -- Northern Territory; Railroads -- Northern Territory -- Alice Springs; Railroads -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Railway
Northern Territory Library
Research paper; no. 2
Atttribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)
Northern Territory Government
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in the mining operations; for example, the supply of new equipment and commodities such as explosives, drill bits, reagents and lubricants. It does not include food, drink and consumables used by the population of mining towns. The inquiry has ignored the expected freight contribution of a number of projects which have proven viability. The expected freight generated by these projects totals 405 000 t in 1992. For example, does the inquiry have any reason, other than federal Labor politics, to exclude developments of the Jabiluka and Koongarra deposits? That omission alone reduces the expected freight rate by 87 000 t in 1992. It would be interesting to the people at Woodcutters to hear that Mr Hill obviously knows more about their freight requirements than they themselves know. Yet the inquiry has arbitrarily added, without any justification, a tonnage of 150 000 t in 1992 to cover bulk mine outputs from some of the above mines, including future exploration for petroleum products, the proposed Alice Springs oil refinery and inputs to the future Darwin cement works. I will discuss that later. Strangely, the inquiry made no comparable forecast for mine inputs even though such a system is relatively simple to persons having a reasonable understanding of the economic geology of the Territory and of mining markets. With the exception of the Koongarra and Warrego- Gecko mines, all other major mining concerns considered in the Territory government's Page 301 submission have proved or inferred reserves adequate for operation beyond the year 2000 at forecast production rates. By normal mining standards they are exceptionally large reserves indicative of the quality of resources available for discovery in the Territory. Undoubtedly, the deposits are larger than their indicated reserves. The operators have no need to spend money today to prove resources which will not be mined for 20 years or more. Typical of the subjective nature of the Hill Report is its rejection of the view that the Frances Creek iron ore mine can be reopened. The inquiry makes the mistake of believing that all iron ore is of one quality and hence should be supplied from the Pilbara. It also said that Darwin's bulk-material port loading facilities are inoperable. As we have already heard this afternoon, the port facility was damaged in Cyclone Tracy but repairs were effected several years ago. It is amazing that the Hill Inquiry did not know that. Mr Smith: Perhaps the Northern Territory government's submission did not tell it that. Mr HATTON: On the other issue, there is a steady demand from a number of small steel makers for ore with the particular characteristics of the Frances Creek material. However, even with the premium prices offered, the problem has been to arrange economic transport from the mine to Darwin. To answer the member for Millner's interjection earlier, the mine closed when the Whitlam government dramatically increased the rail freight charges to the port of Darwin. That led to the closure of the mine. The Hill Inquiry decided that the Dorisvale Mine should be serviced by road. This was despite previous unsuccessful attempts by the owners to truck the ore to Darwin using single-axle trailer units. Mr Speaker, in the first instance, the Territory government's growth rates were derived from a rigorous assessment of planning projects. After 1992, the high growth rates will be less dependent on planned projects but will reflect the Territory's underdeveloped state and potential for a long period of rapid development. There is also a discontinuous jump in demand initially with the railway impacting on the regional economy, as recognised by the Territory government and the inquiry.
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