Lang Hancock and Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s dream of connecting the coal fields of Queensland with the iron ore mines of the west is being considered by the based Tokyo consultancy firm Nomura Research Institute. A feasibility study on the multibillion-dollar ‘Iron Boomerang’ project is set to be complete in two years.
Another northern rail line, from Darwin to Kununurra, is also under consideration. Federal Minister for Regional Australia Simon Crean agreed the line could play an important role in unlocking the food potential of northern Australia and is likely to be linked to Stage Three of the Ord Irrigation Scheme.
Colin Barnett is unhappy about Shell’s plans to develop the Browse Basin gas project using floating liquefied natural gas technology. The technique is seen as a response to rising costs in the Australian resources sector. Barnett was supported by Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union WA State Secretary Steve McCartney, who earlier this week said “anyone that supports floating (LNG) is a traitor to their country.”
Chevron have announced a $9 billion cost blowout on the Gorgon gas project. Rising wages, logistics issues and bad weather are expected to take the project’s total costs to $52 billion. On the eve of the announcement, Chevron Australia head Roy Krzywosinski said high costs “add to the growing list of disincentives to invest here.” Australian gas producers could soon be competing with US shale gas for the Asian market, with a United States Department of Energy report supporting US LNG exports.
North-Western Australia may soon be home to a new university. Earlier this week the University of Western Australia’s Energy and Minerals Institute head Tim Shanahan said a Pilbara campus could support and expand its work with the mining industry.
WA Nationals leader Brendon Grylls believes poor planning has turned the Pilbara into a “basket case.” In a speech to local government representatives yesterday Mr Grylls said residents were dealing with high rents and poor services.
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