John Bowler

John Bowler

Former Minister for Local Government; Employment Protection; Racing and Gaming; Goldfields-Esperance and Great Southern

    Gold continues to shine in WA

    5/04/2006 10:30 AM

    The importance of gold to the Western Australian and national economies was emphasised at the official opening of a gold conference in Perth today.

    Officially opening the Paydirt Gold Conference, Resources Minister John Bowler said gold had played an important role in the State’s mining sector but there remained a lot more to do.

    “Gold has been a star performer for the WA economy and I think it has got a great future in this State,” Mr Bowler said.

    “When it comes to gold, one of the most important things to remember is that Australia is still the world’s second biggest producer, after South Africa, and that WA still accounts for most of our national production.”

    The Minister said gold had historically been the biggest contributor to WA’s resources sector but recent times saw a relative decline in its position, partly due to the very big expansions in petroleum, iron ore, nickel and, to a lesser extent, alumina.

    However, the State had reversed a downward production trend of recent years, partly driven by rising gold prices, with gold production increasing by three per cent in 2005 to 169 tonnes.

    “Whether this reversal signals the start of a long up-trend for gold remains to be seen,” Mr Bowler said.

    The Minister flagged the growth of Telfer to 800,000 ounces a year, and the green light for Boddington’s plan for 700,000 ounces a year, as positive signals.

    “The measure of our success will be the extent to which Government and industry can work together to improve the business climate for industry development,” he said.

    From a State perspective, among the most important things which have been achieved in conjunction with industry, are substantial reforms to regulations, implemented through amendments to the Mining Act. The reforms are based on the findings of the Keating Review of approvals processes and the Bowler Report into greenfields exploration.

    Mr Bowler said high levels of exploration were needed to ensure the sustainability and growth of the sector.

    “Within an improving environment, if we can work together to develop and implement reforms, the gold industry is much better placed to maximise emerging opportunities,” he said.

    Minister's office: 9222 9699