Gascoyne mining prospects abound

MINING as an industry in the Gascoyne hosts many investment and exploration prospects. Gypsum mining and on-site processing at Lake Macleod, and limestone mining near Learmonth will augment the region’s mining activity in the short term.

The advent of these new mining ventures presents additional opportunities for construction of a quickliming plant and cement manufacturing facilities.

An estimated 1.5 million tonnes of gypsum will be exported per annum and 4 billion tonnes over the life of the project, while high-grade limestone deposits south-west of Exmouth will be extracted at a rate expected to reach 1 million tonnes per annum by 2001.

In the medium to long term, greater mining activity may occur in the east and north-east of the region as exploration interest appears to be increasing.

Gold and other minerals have also been found in the Gascoyne hinterlands but, to date, these resources have not been in sufficient quantities to justify mining.

Large proven reserves of hydrocarbons and natural gas have been identified to the north and west of Exmouth. Development of these reserves, should it occur, may present opportunities for LNG and other processing infrastructure to be sited on the North-West Cape.

This includes the proposed petrochemical plant and complex which will be a major milestone for WA and a giant step forward in sophisticated value-adding. A highly skilled project team has nearly completed a first phase feasibility study, and should soon commence a full feasibility into a proposed $2 billion integrated petrochemical plant.

Construction on the project is expected to begin in 2000, with first production to follow in 2003.

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