The Age reported today that Rio Tinto is pushing ahead with its investment in the Pilbara, with a further $US 3.7 billion channelled into its iron ore division. Rio Tinto Iron Ore CEO Sam Walsh indicated that continued Chinese demand for iron ore is the driving force behind the investment. Rio Tinto aims to increase its exports from the Pilbara to 353 million tonnes of iron ore by early 2015.
Skills shortages continue to affect industries in Northern Australia. As we mentioned in April, workers were lining up at expos across the United States to come to Australia. So far, 2,000 Americans have applied for construction and mining jobs in Western Australia.
Queensland is also trying to combat the skills shortage by setting up a Skills and Training Taskforce to address the problem.
The lack of affordable housing is preventing growth in Northern Australia, as John Shipp pointed out in the Pilbara Echo on 9 June. He argued that land must be released to ease the pressure on towns such as Karratha and Port Hedland.
Figures released this week, moreover, show that Darwin has the highest rents in the country, up ten per cent from last year.
This article from the NT News highlights some potential good news for Northern Territory cattlemen, but the effects of last year’s live export ban are still creating uncertainty for the industry.
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