Where will the latest ‘Boom’ take us?

For most of us in the ‘Boom or Bust’ State this is a standard discussion around the kitchen table and everyone has a theory on how big this one will be, how long it will last and what it will do to or for the State.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly…

So let us begin with the Good news. We have a number of fantastic projects in 2019 that should relight the Mining Fire including Eliwana, Koodaideri and South Flank.

The Fortescue Metals Group’s (FMG) Eliwana is estimated to be a $1.7 billion project, expected to operate at 30 million tonnes per annum with capacity for up to 50mtpa over a mine life of at least 24 years, creating up to 1900 jobs during construction and 500 to keep operational.

Rio Tinto trumps FMG’s efforts with the approval of a $2.6 billion iron ore mine. Koodaideri mine is set to be Rio’s most technologically advanced mine to date. The buzz word around this mine… Automation! Koodaideri is expected to create 2000 construction jobs and 600 once operational. Once complete, the mine will have an annual capacity of 43 million tonnes.

And the winner is… BHP with their $4.7 billion South Flank iron ore project, creating 2,500 jobs during construction and 600 ongoing. The mine is due to open by 2021 and run until at least 2046.

The Bad… Skill shortage. We have just mentioned 3 fairly sizable projects and over 6,000 jobs during construction between them. That is a lot of skilled workers which we know we just don’t have here in WA at the moment!

What might that mean for the city? Skilled workers migrate to the mine sites leaving us city dwellers high and dry? Influx of skilled and experienced immigrants with their family in tow? Reintroduction of skilled visas for WA? Or are we facing massive project delays until a solution is found? However it is tackled, it needs to happen soon.   

And finally, the Ugly. It is never straight forward starting a new mine. It is quite literally a mine field to keep each stakeholder happy, abide by all the rules and regulations and let’s not get started on the logistics of projects of this magnitude. FMG hit a snag early on, one which is thankfully resolved, which has seen them have to fork out up to $3 million to contribute to an approved fund to offset up to 3,690 hectares of native vegetation clearing as they revise the Eliwana rail line to avoid damaging Aboriginal heritage sites. Pretty sure each project will come up against a few twists and turns to keep them on their toes. One thing is for sure, if they hire Kuuwa vehicles it’ll be plain sailing.  

So all in all it would appear there is some steady movement in WA that should keep the chit chat around the kitchen table alive and well. And bear in mind that is only accounting for iron ore, we haven’t even touched on other commodities yet!

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