Premier Colin Barnett has told key WA Pilbara business heads not to “panic about so-called downturns” because the area was positioned to see some “very, very good times” ahead. Barnett was opening speaker at the New Pilbara Economic Development Conference, hosted by the Pilbara Regional Chambers of Commerce in Perth last week, which attracted key community and business stakeholders to discuss the future of the Pilbara.
Themed ‘The New Pilbara’, the conference attracted guest speakers and presentations from Nationals WA leader Brendon Grylls, Regional Development Minister Terry Redman, Mines and Petroleum and Small Business Minister Sean L’Estrange and Opposition leader Mark McGowan.
Barnett said even though WA had come off the peak of a ‘super cycle’ driven by the emergence of modern China, predictions that the Pilbara was a “lost cause” were “naive and stupid”.
“What this state and what the Pilbara needs is people who have a long-term view, who keep a steady point of opinion and policy and a steady hand because the times of Pilbara, there is so much to be optimistic about,” he told about 400 delegates.
“During this period of this decade, there has been extraordinary investment – an investment surge that Australia has probably not seen since the post-war immigration took place.”
He said the two big resource industries – iron ore and liquefied natural gas were here to stay.
Barnett said during this decade, iron ore production had doubled and now represented 37 per cent of world iron ore production and 52 per cent of international trade in iron ore.
“Liquified natural gas, with projects like Gorgon, Wheatstone and so on, has trebled from about 16 million tonnes to 50 million tonnes by the end of this decade and the Pilbara is second only to the Gulf state of Qatar by the end of this decade as LNG producers.”
He said suggestions the $90 billion resource industry based in the Pilbara would not grow were misplaced.
“I’m not suggesting we’re going to have a massive cyclical boom, but we are going to see the industry continue to grow and just to maintain for example iron ore production requires new mines to be developed, new investment, new railways, new port expansions that’s just to maintain the dominant position.”
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CCI’s North West Resources Tour has become a highlight of the resources calendar and a rare chance to see first-hand many of Australia’s major resource projects.
Last year’s tour took delegates to the heart of WA’s mining and resources industry in the Pilbara region, as well as visiting Northern Territory.
While details are currently being finalised for May 2017, this year’s trip included behind the scenes tours of BHP Billiton Iron Ore, Roy Hill, Rio Tinto Dampier Port Operations, CITIC Pacific Mining Sino Iron, Quadrant Energy Devil Creek Domestic Gas, Yara Pilbara Nitrates, Pilbara Ports Authority, Ichthy’s Project and ConocoPhillips LNG Plant.
The tour is a great way to see firsthand how the state’s resources sector is performing, allowing access to business and opportunities directly with operations managers in the field. The exclusive group of guests attain an insight into operations for the major Gold, Lithium, Nickel, Oil and Gas, and Iron Ore producers through the eyes of their senior leaders.