Industry Reports

Australian transport infrastructure policy report

This report, by the National Institute of Economic and Industry Research, has identified seven principal problems with transport infrastructure policy in Australia.

The report concludes the nation’s transport infrastructure doesn’t work well enough, is adversely affected by ad hoc planning and short-term thinking, and is costing the country additional growth and jobs.

The study identified 11 projects, including the Fremantle Port Links, which could supplement predicted GDP by 2030 by an additional $39.5 billion.

NIEIR executive director Peter Brain says the principal problems will not be easily overcome and a complete review of the way in which transport investment is assessed is required.

The report was commissioned by the Australian Council for Infrastructure Development and the Association of Ports and Marine Authorities, as part of a submission to the Federal Government’s Auslink proposal.

Titanium Minerals Cost Report

The AME Mineral Economics titanium industry report has revealed that while demand for titanium dioxide pigment has not picked up decisively, net costs of producing titanium dioxide in mineral concentrates are down on favourable exchange rates and improved zircon prices.

Pigment feedstock is forecast to remain in oversupply, of some relief to pigment producers such as DuPont, Millennium, and Kerr-McGee, who are facing energy cost rises this year.

New greenfield projects are planned by Gingko and Mindarie in Australia, and Moma in Mozambique.

This is in spite of tough market conditions, said to be responsible for the closure later this year of Kerr-McGee’s Mobile Alabama, and reported voluntary redundancies at Cable Sands.

By-products such as zircon and garnet are becoming increasingly important revenue earners.

In Australia, labour productivity has increased by an estimated 8 per cent annually, driven by Iluka’s rationalization of mining and upgrading operations after the merger between Westralian Sands and RGC in late 1998, and workforce reductions at Tiwest and Consolidated Rutile, through business improvement programs.

The titanium minerals industry is highly consolidated – the top ten producers of mined titanium dioxide accounted for 88 per cent of estimated 2002 world production.

Upgraded feedstock supply (slag and synthetic rutile) is even more tightly held with the top four companies producing 82 per cent of world output.

The industry is dominated by Rio Tinto and Iluka, which together accounted for 45 per cent of mined production and 60 per cent of upgraded feedstock production last year.

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