Debates Day 5 - Wednesday 17 October 2007
Parliamentary Record 17
Debates for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Wednesday 17 October 2007 4872 That was the catalyst for interest. The department has spent a lot of money on geoscientific work on the ground in many unexplored areas in and around the Territory. The results of the geoscientific work were put straight onto the departments website and have created a lot of interest. The site is probably a world leader in some cases, which is one of the many reasons we are making good inroads with mining. We followed that up with Bringing Forward Discovery, which is a $12m, four-year program that started on 1 July this year. Again, geoscientific research of unexplored land will be undertaken so data can be fed back to explorers so they are properly informed and can get themselves onto the land and have a look at it. It is interesting to note that $18m was spent on exploration in 2000-01 and there were only 333 exploration licences at that stage. That more than doubled in 2005-06 when more than $30m was spent on exploration and 756 applications were processed. I reported to the House yesterday that I was lucky enough to present the 1000th exploration licence to Territory Gold, which was fantastic. They are a great company which has supported the Northern Territory for a number of years. They are doing some good work in the Bonaparte Basin. We have a China strategy running at the moment. The Leader of the Opposition pointed out that China plays an integral role in our exports. It is a great focus for us. I attended an AMEC conference in Perth earlier this year and the guest speaker was a gentleman by the name of Robert Friedland. He is a Canadian who owns Ivanhoe Mining and he is a world-renowned mining expert. He gave a very interesting talk, which opened when he said: If you think this resources boom is finished, forget about it. With demand from China, India, Japan and Korea, this resources boom is going to go for a number of years. He quoted some very interesting statistics: half the cranes in the world are on the China landscape; half the concrete poured in the world is poured in China; and a Manhattan is built in Beijing alone every year. So the construction industry in China is going through the roof. That is really borne about by Chinas global demand for iron ore. In 1990, China had 9% of the worlds iron ore stock; in 2005, that increased to 31%. You can see that China wants every bit of iron ore in the world to cover their construction industry. I visited China in November of last year for a mining conference where we promoted the Territory. Since then, we have had 14 Chinese organisations visit the Territory. This year, I will revisit China as part of our ongoing strategy. We have made some wonderful contacts there. The China Mining Association, together with the China Chamber of Commerce, Metals and Minerals have been a terrific association. We have signed a MOU with China Chamber of Commerce, Metals and Minerals. They have over 4000 members and the fact that they have put a link to our website on theirs goes to show that there is interest in the Northern Territory from Chinese companies. I hope we can continue to develop those links with China. I am looking forward to ensuring that the Northern Territory gets a leg in because there are a lot of states and territories jockeying for position. However, I believe we have a really good foot in to China because the others have not capitalised as we have. It is pleasing to note that $24m is being spent on the bulk ore loading system at the East Arm port and it is terrific to see Bootu Creek stockpiling ore together with Territory Resources. I was lucky enough to visit Bootu Creek. Mark Lang, their Operations Manager, showed us around for the afternoon. It is a terrific set-up and it was great to see the mine site is really going ahead. The prospects of another 10 years of life paints a terrific picture for the Territory economy. They have to truck their ore 63 km to the railway siding. They have about 650 000 tonnes per annum over the 10-year life of the mine so bulk storage at the Darwin Port is playing an integral role. It was pleasing to see that the first rail shipment of manganese from Bootu Creek was delivered to the East Arm stockpile area in 2006. Added to that is Frances Creek, Territory Resources. The iron ore mine started in June this year. I had the luxury of visiting the site where Bruce McFadzean, the Operations Director of the mine, showed us around. He said in June they moved from being an explorer to a producer and they were very excited by their first railing of 2300 tonnes of high grade ore being shipped to the Port of Darwin. They have entered into a three-year freight contract with FreightLink worth about $30m. It is great to see that they are on the ground feeding the demand of China for their iron ore. The Territory is well poised to capitalise on the inherent logistical advantages of our location. Our direct links and close proximity to South-East Asian countries stands us in good stead. It was fantastic to hear that a company based in South Australia is also using FreightLink to bring their copper concentrate. Oxiana is bringing 250 000 tonnes of copper concentrate to the Northern Territory via FreightLink on the railway from their Prominent Hill site. To have a 10-year contract to do that is a feather in the cap for
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