Resources drive Pilbara development

SITUATED in the vast North West of WA, the Pilbara region extends over 500,000 square kilometres from the Indian Ocean into Australia’s centre.

Formed by the boundaries of four local authorities, the Town of Port Hedland and the Shires of Roebourne, East Pilbara and Ashburton, it recorded a population in 1996 of 43,122.

However, it was not until the mid 1960s that the region achieved national and international prominence with the opening up of massive iron ore export operations. Today, the region has grown to become WA’s largest mineral producing region, with the value of its petroleum and mining industries exceeding $9 billion.

Other important contributors to its impressive economy include gold and other minerals, salt, manufacturing, construction, tourism and live cattle.

While the current economic down turn in the Asian economy has delayed the development, BHP’s $2.5 billion HBI plant is testament to the Pilbara’s excellent growth potential.

Other major projects under consideration in the Pilbara in-clude the expansion of Wood-side Offshore Petroleum’s LNG plant, the construction of a new LNG plant by Gorgon and the construction of a petrochemical and ammonia urea plant on the Burrup Peninsula.

This growth potential coupled with a regional unemployment figure of 4.3 per cent and an average annual income exceeding $40,000 makes the Pilbara an attractive investment option.

Tourism also makes a significant contribution to the regional economy.

• Robyn Crane is CEO of the Pilbara Development Corporation.


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