Resource-rich Australia set to remap minerals policy to stay competitive

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Australia, keen to remain competitive in resources, has set up a task force to develop new ideas and technologies to help ensure longevity of one of its most important industry.

“Mining has never been as important to the global economy as it is now. The modern world relies on a more diverse list of minerals for a greater range of products than at any other time,” Minister for Resources Matt Canavan said at a time when a view that Australia’s mining story was coming to end has gained currency.

There are more than 25 minerals or metals that go into the construction of a mobile phone, and 18 of them are produced in Australia. Similarly, there are 16 minerals and metals that go into the manufacture of a solar panel and Australia produces 10 of them.

“The mining boom is not over. Mining is as important as it has ever been and its importance to the Australian economy is only likely to increase,” Canavan said, adding while Australia had a world-leading innovative resources industry that contributes significantly to the economy and creates jobs it new ideas and technologies to stay ahead in the game.

The taskforce will focus on policy areas that can attract investment, contribute to regional economic progress, build community support, simplify business, find new minerals, and ensure that Australia gets best use of its mineral resources before they are exported.

The Australian Government will use the proposals put forward by the taskforce as a basis to develop a National Resources Statement later this year.

“This will be the first time since the late 1990s that the Australian Government has mapped out a policy statement for the sector,” Canavan said.

A successful resources policy will mean more jobs; more opportunities for Australian businesses to succeed on the global stage; and more flow-on benefits to other businesses and industries in regional Australia, he added.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show the mining industry contracted across all key indicators in 2015-16, with sales and service income declining by 11.4 per cent.

Canavan said China, and the other advancing economies of India, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia would continue to drive demand for Australian resources.

“That includes increases in the demand for Australian coal. Australian coal is some of the highest quality in the world and we produce it more efficiently than most too,” he said.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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