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Mining boom in Australia not in the country’s national interest: Report

Despite the frequent reports of a mining boom in down under, a recent study published by the Canberra based think tank The Australia Institute, is calling for a slowing down.The study “Too Much of a Good Thing? Macro-Economic Case for Slowing Down the Mining Boom,” argues that “while it is clearly in Australia’s interests that the world is willing to pay record prices for our natural resources it is not nearly as clear that it is in Australia’s national interest to simultaneously develop 94 new mineral projects”.The 17-page report examines the skills shortage and infrastructure issues, urging for a competitive auctioning process for the granting of mining approvals, together with a rationing of new mining developments.Reactions are just firing up. The NSW Minerals Council smashed the report yesterday, calling it ‘flawed’ and ‘misleading’.“The report is a political statement pretending to be fact-based. It misrepresents the scale and expected growth of the mining sector to give the impression that mining projects are overtaking the NSW economy and engulfing the state,” said the Council in a statement.It went on to say the report “is riddled with incorrect assumptions and flawed arguments, and misleads on an industry vital to the future of this State”.According to the industry body, the Australia Institute’s document is “simply a political vehicle designed to discredit the mining industry.”Matt Grundoff, one of the polemic report’s authors, has previously published a paper on the effects of mining on Queensland, called “Job creator or job destroyer – an analysis of the mining boom in Queensland.”In that document, Grundoff stated that the mining boom would destroy around 20,000 non-mining jobs in the state.“In Queensland there are a large number of proposed mining projects that if completed will cause significant structural change to that State’s economy and Australia as a whole,” he claimed.The Minerals Council also slammed those findings, stating that the report “is riddled with incorrect assumptions and flawed arguments, and misleads on an industry vital to the future of this State.”Last month the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE) said Australia’s resources and energy commodity export earnings would continue to grow over the medium term to reach a record US$231 billion by 2017.

21 Saturday April 2012  8:10

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