Perth: Union Minister of Steel and Mines, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar met Western Australian Premier, Mr Colin Barnet in latter’s office in West Perth, Australia on 4.9.15.
Shri Tomar highlighted the growing closeness in Indo-Australian relations. He emphasized the need for strengthening business relations in the mineral sector for mutual benefit, the geology being similar in two countries. He further explained the mineral sector reforms undertaken by the Government of India in the recent past to facilitate growth by introducing full transparency in the grant of mineral concessions through auctions, which is complemented by provisions for the ease of doing business. This is an opportune time for Australia to make investments in Indian mining sector, he remarked. He apprised the Western Australia government about the progress of upcoming auctions and invited Australian companies to take part in the auctions. The reforms also aim at boosting mineral exploration in the country and development of the mining affected areas. Shri Tomar sought collaboration with Australian companies in the exploration sector and his proposal was well received by them.
Hon’ble Premier of WA expressed keen interest in the Indian mining sector and assured to take necessary steps for mutual benefit of the two nations. He highlighted the key importance of WA in mining sector, which contributes 70% of total mining sector in Australia and 50% of total Australian exports. He added that 30% of world iron ore production comes from WA and the production of bauxite, nickel, gold and LNG is also very significant. He further said that WA presents one of the most attractive investment opportunities due to its abundant resources and facilitative mineral regime.
Earlier in the day, the Indian delegation led by the Union Minister visited Huntley mines, the world’s second largest bauxite mine with production of 25 million tones. Delegation learnt about the state of the art technology and automation being used.
The delegation visited the fully automated operational centre of RIO TINTO, where from the company operates its 15 mines at Pilbara, 1500 kilometre away from Perth. Total production from these 15 mines is 330 million tones. Officials from the company explained how automation is being used to manage operations of mines, rails and ports. This has helped them improve efficiency and reduce cost of production.
The Minister also visited the office of Legacy Iron ore limited, a subsidiary company of NMDC based in Australia. Minister reviewed the progress made by company in acquiring the assets in Australia. On a busy day, full of other official commitments, the Minister made it a point that these visits and meetings were carried out successfully before leaving for India.