Article – Gina Rinehart calls for mining red tape to be cut while prices down

2 December 2014
Barry FitzGerald
The Australian

THE crash in commodity prices has stirred billionaire iron ore magnate Gina Rinehart to renew her call for the federal and state governments to act decisively on overregulation of the resources industry.

Mrs Rinehart, Australia’s richest person and the major shareholder in Fairfax Media, also lashed out at the media, saying it is dominated by anti-mining voices.
In her regular column in Australian Resources and Investment, out today, Mrs Rinehart wrote that governments needed to act on the industry’s regulatory burden in light of falling commodity prices.
“This is the time to act urgently on cutting government cost burdens. Given our very high wages comparatively and lower productivity, something has to give,’’ Mrs Rinehart said. Her comments came as the plunge in iron ore and coal prices was recently joined by plunging oil and gold prices.
“We’ve become a nation of compliance, instead of performance,’’ Mrs Rinehart said of the regulatory burden. She commended the Abbott government for its start on peeling away the “layers of bureaucracy’’ involved with jettisoned mining and carbon taxes, but said it must be just the start if Australia is to remain competitive on international markets.
“Mining remains possibly the most regulated of all industries. We deal with approvals upon approvals and have to navigate overlapping of all three levels of government, sometimes involving thousands of pages of paperwork just for one approval,’’ Mrs Rinehart said.
She said that at her Hancock Prospecting’s $10 billion Roy Hill iron ore joint venture project in the Pilbara, the required number of permits, licences and approvals had exceeded 3000. “The additional costs of this would make your hip pocket nerve ill and opens the question, is it possible for small business to get through this in the mining industry?’’
The 55-million-tonne-a-year Roy Hill is due for completion in September next year.
The rise in Pilbara iron ore supplies from Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Fortescue — and eventually Roy Hill — has driven the seaborne market to oversupply, causing iron ore prices to plunge by 48 per cent this year.
Roy Hill is expected to be the third-lowest-cost producer ­behind Rio and BHP.
Mrs Rinehart railed against anti-mining voices in the media, politics and ­academia. “Those who oppose mining, Australia’s most important export industry, are portrayed positively, while those who work, invest and create jobs, such as mining companies and their leaders, have endless distorting media against them.’’
Billionaire Gina Rinehart Hosts Tour of Roy Hill Iron Ore Mine Construction
Courtesy of The Australian