North Australia Digest – 30/10/12

The Australian
Chinese interest in Australian miners continues amid slumping prices and high costs. Endocoal chief executive, Tim Hedley, says that companies face ‘an increasingly challenging operating environment, given recent global financial uncertainty’.
By 2014, most mining investment projects will be completed and there will be very few additional projects for the rest of the decade. Unfortunately, Wayne Swan and the Treasury fail to understand this downward trend in mining investments and expected profits of the industry, writes Robert Gottliebsen. (No link).
The union movement has picked up on the term Special Economic Zones in its campaign against free trade with New Zealand, but they don’t quite appreciate its scope or meaning meaning.
Australian Financial Review
There has been a surprisingly steep decline in the Australian coal exports as China focuses on using hydro-electric power. Analysts are now reviewing their forecasts for China’s long-term demand as most had expected ‘it would continue to grow almost indefinitely’.
China warns ‘if you can’t get your industrial relations act and your pricing act together in mining we will take our business to Africa’, says Margaret Byrne, principal consultant at UGM Consultant.
The Age
Capital cities in Northern Australia are better geographically positioned to take advantage of the Asian Century than the rest of Australia, according to experts.
The West Australian
Unions have been told to ‘take a reality check’ by the West Australian government amidst complaints over the benefits to locals of recently awarded WA companies resource contracts. The $25 billion contracts have created around 70,000 jobs since July 2011.
Courier Mail
The Courier Mail also reports on China’s sustained interest in Australian miners despite the high production costs.