01/04/2009 - 11:11

Mines minister upholds WA sovereignty

01/04/2009 - 11:11

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Mines Minister Norman Moore has delivered an assurance Western Australia will retain control of local mining operations despite increased foreign investment in Australian mining companies.

Mines Minister Norman Moore has delivered an assurance Western Australia will retain control of local mining operations despite increased foreign investment in Australian mining companies.

"I am not concerned at all about foreign investment. We are going to set the rules and they are going to be very strict," the minister said, speaking at the Sheraton Hotel this morning.

"They will be world's best practice. We want people to say, that is the best way to do it in the world."

The statement comes a day after Fortescue Metals Group announced Chinese state-owned steelmaker Hunan Valin would increase its stake in the company to 17.55 per cent through a $645 million equity deal.

Mr Moore welcomed the deal on the grounds of conditions that separated the buyer from the producer.

Details of the Royalties for Regions exploration approvals package will be released by the minister later in the week in Kalgoorlie, in conjunction with Nationals leader Brendan Grylls.

He indicated they would allow proponents to track the progress of their applications across departments, reduce duplication between state and federal environmental and native title legislation, and reduce assessment time.

"WA's status as ranked by the Fraser Institute as the riskiest place to do business in mining is embarrassing," Mr Moore said.

"We want to restore WA's reputation as the priority place to do business."

The minister was upbeat about the state's growing uranium industry, indicating significant potential for more discoveries.

"There is an estimated 199,000 known uranium oxide resource in Western Australia. Australia has the capacity to produce 81,000 tonnes now and that is expected to increase to 98,200 in 2014," Mr Moore said.

He said future development of the industry would observe stringent environmental, occupational safety and health and transport standards.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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