Albany mill plans soon finalised

ARRANGEMENTS for the development of a plantation-based woodchip mill in Albany are expected to be finalised by the end of May.

Resources Development Minister Colin Barnett has gone to Japan to try and clinch the deal.

Mr Barnett said, during discussions with Oji Paper and Itochu Corporation in Japan, he hoped to secure investment for the proposed mill which would be developed in conjunction with Bunnings Forest Products.

The promotion of WA Liquefied Natural Gas exports will also be a key feature of Mr Barnett’s visits to both Japan and China. Japan is WA’s largest export market taking product worth around $5.4 billion each year.

High-level government meetings will also be held in China, promoting LNG as a competitive alternative fuel for generating power to supply the rapidly developing Southern Chinese provinces.

“WA is the nation’s leading petroleum producer with over $4.6 billion in production in 1998,” Mr Barnett said.

It is estimated that, by 2010, WA could supply around 23 million tonnes – 15 per cent of the world’s LNG.

“Entering the Chinese market would be a significant boost for WA,” Mr Barnett said.

Currently world demand for LNG is estimated at 84 million tonnes per annum. Asia makes up 63 million tonnes or 75 per cent of this demand.

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