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WA this week – 10 years ago

Talk of royalties on WA gold dismissed POLITICIANS dismissed reports that Western Australia was considering a royalty on gold, despite the state resources minister examining the issue, this week 10 years ago. A spokesperson for Resources Minister Colin Barnett, confirmed the minister was looking at ways of introducing a royalty on gold, despite fierce opposition from producers to similar moves previously. However then Premier, Richard Court denied his government was considering the royalty. Gold producers in every State except WA pay royalties on gold, as is still the case today. The Australian Broadcasting Authority began to investigate whether Perth media proprietor Kerry Stokes was linked with Rupert Murdoch’s News Limited in a bid to illegally control the Seven Network. The investigation followed Mr Stokes’ acquisition of 13 per cent of the company in the previous fortnight. His holding in the company made him the second largest shareholder after News Limited with 15 per cent. The ABA investigation was launched after pay TV venture Optus Vision made a formal complaint ‘asserting associations that breached the Broadcasting Services Act’. The latest quarterly production data issued by the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed WA was performing well with 0.7 per cent growth in the period and 7 per cent annualised growth, although Queensland and Victoria led the nation. Woodside’s strong talk continued, as its chairman Bill Rogers told the company’s annual general meeting that it was poised for a new period of development. Mr Rogers said he saw potential for significant additional gas sales in WA, particularly to value-added industries in the iron ore-mining Pilbara region. The chairman also said significant quantities of liquid petroleum gas from Wanae and Goodwyn A had justified the installation of LPG chilling, storage and export facilities, adding that the $316 million LPG project was 60 per cent complete. Gold miner Sons of Gwalia said it had lifted annual production through a substantial boost to ore reserves and resources at its Laverton mine and the purchase of two additional gold mines. The company’s gold division was recently sold to Perth-based St Barbara Mines after being placed into receivership in August last year. PLANS to develop the natural gas resources in the Pilbara via a petrochemical complex are attracting interest from several major petrochemical companies in Japan, Europe and the US. Interest in the project is also being shown by the China Petrochemical Corp. Production costs for ethylene at Pilbara were expected to be half those in China. Westralian Sands was planning a $134 million expansion at its synthetic rutile facility at North Capel, near Bunbury. The project was timed to coincide with the recovery in the titanium dioxide market.

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