Colin Barnett

Colin Barnett


    Pilbara Industry Conference reveals strength of region

    11/10/2000 9:49 AM

    Resources Development Minister Colin Barnett is confident the Pilbara’s position as one of the State’s leading resource regions will be reinforced through growth in gas processing and minerals processing and further expansion of the iron ore industry.

    Mr Barnett said Australians should not forget the Pilbara was a very special place in Australia.

    Speaking at the inaugural Pilbara Industry Conference today in Karratha, he said it was easy to concentrate on the Pilbara’s massive iron ore deposits and solar salt industry.

    However it was the gas reserves of Western Australia’s North-West which were without doubt Australia’s greatest natural resource asset.

    “I am confident it is these phenomenal gas reserves which will underpin the economic wellbeing of the State, and the nation, in the coming years,” Mr Barnett said.

    “In the next few years Karratha will witness the birth of a chemical industry based on the downstream processing of natural gas into products such as ammonia, ammonium nitrate, synthetic hydrocarbons, methanol, urea and other petrochemical feedstocks.

    “I am confident that many of these projects will be built in the next few years.

    “As a result, this region has a very bright future, and the chance to grow from a centre for the extraction and processing of iron ore and salt into the home of a series of truly world-scale downstream processing industries.”

    Delegates to the two-day conference, organised by the Karratha & Districts Chamber of Commerce and Industry and opened by Mr Barnett, will hear presentations from a number of key Pilbara industry players, on topics including:
    • the North West Shelf Joint Venture’s $3 billion fourth LNG train;
    • Plenty River Corporation’s $800 million ammonia urea project;
    • Syntroleum’s $600 million gas to liquids project, scheduled for a construction start in third quarter 2001;
    • Mermaid Marine’s King Bay offshore support facility; and -
    • expansion plans for the iron ore industry.

    The conference also includes tours of the region, and is expected to be attended by many mining industry professionals from Perth, Sydney and Melbourne.

    Mr Barnett said the State Government was committed to encouraging more value-adding mineral processing industries to the Pilbara region through its "Gas for Growth" strategy, which encompassed both the promotion of gas use and the commitment to providing the multi-user infrastructure that industry needs.

    He said the strategy also recognised that Western Australia needed to be more pro-active in attracting these industries as it competed in a national and international business environment.

    Potential projects being targeted included gas-based processing plants to produce methanol, petrochemicals, gas-to-liquids for synthetic oils and lubricants, ammonia, urea and ammonium nitrate. Gas for energy for minerals-to-metal industries being targeted include production of magnesium from salt bitterns, and ferro alloys, such as ferro-manganese.

    Media contact: Diana Callander - 9222 9686