Gold price jump a furphy: AGSEAN

A major downturn in the resource sectors has been forecast by the Australian Geoscientists’ Skills & Employment Advancement Network which is concerned that the recent surge in the price of gold has created a false air of optimism within government, business and investors.

Ongoing research by AGSEAN has revealed that, while the price of gold has improved recently, it is only bringing slight relief to the

mining and resource industry.

According to AGSEAN, there has been no change to the

incidence of retrenchments within the resources sector or an improvement in minerals exploration expenditure, which is essential for the long-term health of the minerals industry.

AGSEAN chairman John Williams said a ‘return to form’ of the resources sector within Australia (particularly Western Australia and Queensland) is impossible while the current Native Title legislation procedures remain in place.

“It not just about mineral commodity prices. If explorers are prevented from accessing prospective ground the present crisis will continue to grow, the minerals industry will continue to decline and Australia will ultimately head into recession as a result,” Mr Williams said.

He said the WA economy, dependent on the minerals industry for over 70 per cent of its exports, is already experiencing some difficulties, with this only the start.

Mr Williams said a major assay laboratory has implemented three rounds of retrenchments, reducing its staff by 50 per cent and is operating at less than 50 per cent capacity.

Another firm, a market leader in the manufacture and installation of sheds, has only had one order this year from a mining company.

“These are the unsuspecting victims of legislation that is, in its present form, not fulfilling the function for which it was designed. The legislation is supplying neither the access and security of tenure to promote exploration nor any benefit for legitimate Native Title claimants,” said Mr Williams.

The loss of jobs is resulting in increasing numbers of people leaving the industry.

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