Mining Industry | QUESTION TIME


Mrs POWER (Elder) (14:26): Thank you. My question is to the Minister for Energy and Mining. Can the minister update the house on recent South Australian copper discoveries and milestones?

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Minister for Energy and Mining) (14:26): Yes, I can, and I appreciate the member for Elder’s question. I won’t call her the member for Power, as I was close to calling my other colleague the member for Patterson the other day. This is, in fact, incredibly positive news—the opposition, of course, therefore may not be interested—this is very good for South Australia. With regard to milestones in copper discoveries, OZ Minerals is moving forward very positively.

Mr Hughes interjecting:

The SPEAKER: The member for Giles is called to order.

Mr Hughes interjecting:

The SPEAKER: The member for Giles is warned. Minister.

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN: Thank you, sir. OZ Minerals is moving their Carrapateena project forward very positively. They have been able to extend the life at Prominent Hill as well, which is fantastic for South Australia. At Carrapateena, the newest significant mine in the state, they have now stockpiled 180,000 tonnes of ore. They have connected the electricity grid, they have a water supply on board and they have commenced production drilling, so they expect to have ore to market by the end of this calendar year—an absolutely outstanding achievement by that company which, as we know, is already considering expansion plans for the existing project that they have.

Extraordinarily exciting, also, is the information that BHP announced this morning. We would all be aware of the Oak Dam West drilling results that they got about 65 kilometres south-east of Roxby Downs earlier this year. They have now released even further information, with drilling results showing sections comprising more than 4 per cent copper. This, of course, is a long way from getting that copper out of the ground, but these drilling results are truly outstanding. What this does, as well as clearly being incredibly buoyant for the future of the South Australian economy, for employment, for mining, is it also continues to keep South Australia at the forefront of international investors’ minds with regard to copper in the Gawler Craton. South Australia is a genuine world-leading province for copper. We should be very proud of that.

Mining is one of our greatest industries. Agriculture has forever, since settlement, been our largest industry in South Australia and continues to have a very important future in South Australia. Mining is incredibly important, tourism, manufacturing, retail, hospitality, etc., etc., all these industries working together is how we will achieve through the Marshall government our 3 per cent growth target—a sustainable 3 per cent growth target—and mining is ready, willing and able to make its contribution to that economic growth in South Australia.

Congratulations to OZ Minerals on what they are doing at Carrapateena, a truly outstanding new mine that is being developed extremely quickly. Congratulations to BHP, which continues to do an extraordinary job at Olympic Dam and clearly seems to have other outstanding prospects in the same region.

The investment that these announcements will attract from overseas mean that not only are the existing operators and the companies that we are all familiar with in excess of BHP and OZ Minerals—not only do their futures look bright but the investment that will come into this region and allow other companies to do more exploration and other companies to eventually do more mining is absolutely outstanding for our state and exactly the type of information that we need to be incredibly optimistic about employment and economic opportunities, which then flow to social opportunities across our state.