Mining boom not over says Australian PM

- Posted in Australia by Dominicon 05 September 2012

Julia Gillard says the mining
boom, and all the opportunities
that come along with that, has
decades left to run.

Last week we wrote about Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson's comments that the country's mining boom is 'over' and what that would mean for people hoping to move to Australia. The mining boom has created abundant, high paid opportunities for a range of professonals but the minister's comments  caused some to reconsider their options.

However, in a speech to the Association of Mining and Exploration Convention in Perth this week, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said 'reports of the mining boom's death are exaggerated'.

The mining and resources boom in Australia has allowed the country's economy to grow healthily while much of the rest of the world sank into recession.

However, with the recovery well on the way in other countries, growth has begun to stabilise in Australia and prompted some to declare boom times as over.

Minister Ferguson's original statement came after two of Australia's biggest mining companies, BHP Bilton and Rio Tinto, both scaled back their projects in Australia, they have since been joined by Fortescue Metals Group but Ms Gillard dismissed claims this meant the boom is dead.

"There is no question about whether we have a boom," said the prime minister, "the issue is whether we make it last."

Ms Gillard said she recognised that falling commodity prices needed a different approach but said that management of current projects and coordination with emerging and urbanising markets such as India, China and South East Asia meant the boom was simply changing phase.

The prime minister told the conference there was three distinct phases - a prices boom, an investment boom and a production boom. With falling commodity prices, Ms Gillard says the prices boom is ending now but that the investment phase is still to peak and the final stage has years to run 'as all that effort comes to fruition in the years and decades ahead'.

"I talk of decades because the Asian Century stands firmly behind the peaks and troughs of the business cycle," said Ms Gillard.

"It's a transformation of scale of the industrial revolution and it's happening on our doorstep."

The prime minister said the lack of skilled workers that has plagued the mining industry 'angered' her and while in the future Ms Gillard hopes the mining industry won't 'hire a single foreign worker if there is an Australian who can do the job', the prime minister said that right now 'migration has a place' when it comes to ensuring the continued progress of the mining boom.

- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the Australian Visa Bureau.