21/05/2009 - 11:14

WA leads resource capital spend: ABARE

21/05/2009 - 11:14

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Western Australia continues to dominate the country's share of capital investment on advanced projects with latest figures showing the state accounted for more than 70 per cent of expenditure.

WA leads resource capital spend: ABARE

Western Australia continues to dominate the country's share of capital investment on advanced projects with latest figures showing the state accounted for more than 70 per cent of expenditure.

In its Minerals and Energy: Major Development project - April 2009 listing, the Australian Bureau of Agriculture, Resource and Economics (ABARE) reviewed 321 major projects across the country, including 247 projects in the feasibility study stage.

During the six months to April 2009, ABARE said 18 major minerals and energy projects, at a combined total of $5.2 billion, with four of those completed in WA.

The largest completed project in the country, in terms of capital expenditure, was the expansion of the Cape Lambert iron ore port, owned by Rio Tinto and the Robe River joint venture, at a cost of $US952 million.

Other completed WA projects include Xstrata Nickel Australia's completion of the Sinclair mine ($A125 million), Apex Minerals' Wiluna gold operation ($62 million) and Western Areas' Forrestania nickel concentrate plant ($30 million).

ABARE said there were a further 74 projects in advanced stages, which is the lowest number since April 2005.

The lower number is a result of more projects being completed and also a number of projects being placed on hold.

However the combined value of the advanced projects had risen to $80 billion, up 16 per cent from the six month period to October 2008.

ABARE mentioned that the depreciating Australian dollar against the US dollar, of which some projects are denominated in, is estimated to account for around half of the increased capital expenditure in the latest reporting period.

Advanced energy projects accounted for around 54 per cent, or $43.4 billion, of total committed capital expenditure, increasing by 13 per cent on the last period.

Woodside Petroleum's $12 billion Pluto liquefied natural gas project is the largest advanced energy project and is also the country's biggest commitment to a single project.

Other WA advanced energy projects include the $US6.6 billion expansion efforts by the North West Shelf joint venture, the $US1.7 billion development of BHP's Pyrenees oil field and the $700 million Stage 5B expansion of the Dampier to Bunbury gas pipeline.

In the minerals mining sector, there were 25 advanced projects with a collective value of $29.4 billion.

Ten iron ore projects accounted for 70 per cent, or $20.4 billion) of the total expected capital cost of the projects.

The WA projects include the $US5.7 billion Rapid Growth Project 5 by BHP, CITIC Pacific Mining's $US3.5 billion Sino Iron project, Rio's $US1.5 billion Hammersley Iron Brockman 4 project and Newmont Mining's $US2.9 billion Boddington gold operation.

In the less advanced project category, WA had 82 projects in feasibility study stage out of a national total of 247, worth a combined $277.3 million.

Overall, WA accounted for more than 70 per cent of the capital expenditure on advanced projects, including eight oil and gas projects valued at $26.8 billion and 10 iron ore projects with a value of $20.4 billion.

"Western Australia continues to account for the largest share of capital expenditure, reflecting the capital intensive nature of iron ore, and oil and gas projects," ABARE executive director Phillip Glyde said.

Queensland accounted for a further 15 per cent of capital spend on project, with more than half invested in coal mining and related infrastructure projects.

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