5 February 2015
The Northern Territory division of the Minerals Council says the current political turmoil in the NT is not helping business confidence and wants the Mines Minister to remain in his role for some stability.
ABC Rural has been told that Willem Westra van Holthe, who was at the heart of yesterday’s bizarre political events, is currently the Deputy Chief Minister, the Minister for Primary Industry and Fisheries, Minister for Mines and Energy and Minister for Land Resource Management.
But according to a government source, Mr Westra van Holthe “may lose some portfolios, but may pick up some as well” and that will depend on upcoming discussions with Chief Minister Adam Giles and other CLP members.
NT Minerals Council executive director Drew Wagner said he was hoping Mr Westra van Holthe would stay in charge of the mining portfolio.
“The buzzword at the moment is stability and Willem is a man who has invested the last two and a half years into that role,” he said.
“He’s made a hell of a lot of effort into understanding how we operate and where we operate, and being able to move forward from here and having that stability to provide that confidence is certainly paramount for us all.
“So certainly yes, I’d be happy if Willem was to retain those portfolios.”
Mr Wagner says the current political circus in the Territory had not been great for investor confidence.
“The mining sector like any other business sector will now be looking at the Territory to see what happens next.”
Mr Wagner said despite the collapse of the iron ore industry in the Territory over the last 12 months, there were a number of existing mines expanding.
“There’s 16 projects looking at a total investment of about $4.2billion that are all at their final investment decision,” he said.
“So that’s 16 projects on the books right now that could almost double the capacity of the current mining sector of the Northern Territory, so it’s certainly looking fairly bright.”
He said another 40 mining projects were in approval stages.
Courtesy of ABC Rural