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SARS has diggers and drillers lying low

EVENTS management, hospitality, food and beverage, transport, travel and tourism businesses are the first to come to mind in response to travel security warnings and the SARS outbreak.

However, the uncertainty is also affecting travel in other sectors, including WA mining and petroleum companies.

Some say it is slowing progress on potential deals, however, others are effectively using telecommunications to get around some travel constraints.

Woodside, which has recently tied up the joint venture with China National Offshore Oil Corporation and the North West Shelf LNG partners, to supply the Guangdong LNG contract, is one of the latter.

The company also holds Gulf of Mexico and east and west African interests, but travel by Woodside employees fell 60 per cent in the past month, a spokesperson said.

Employee health and safety took priority, he said.

“Travel restrictions are under constant review and travel re-quests are going through a thorough evaluation process,” the spokesman said.

Sally Malay Mining is perhaps one of the most frustrated, expecting to sign a $400 million deal with the Jinchuan Group and Sino Mining International in Jinchuan this month.

All plans are now off for an official signing ceremony, and if the companies cannot meet elsewhere, the deal will be finalised by fax.

Goldfields explorer Heron Resources is in the midst of talks with the Jinchuan Group and, following a preliminary meeting in Shanghai earlier this year, agreed to another meeting in China later in the year.

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