Completion of the $100 million Forrestania nickel project near Hyden was a major vote of confidence by international investors in Western Australia, Premier Carmen Lawrence said today.
"The level of capital investment in this State has been maintained at about $1,000 million each three months in the past year - a performance not equalled in any other State where investment has declined," Dr Lawrence said.
Dr Lawrence was speaking after officially opening the Forrestania mine owned by the leading international Finnish-based nickel group, Outokumpu Oy.
"This project is solid evidence that the Government is adopting the right policies to attract and maintain investment in this State," the Premier said.
"Projects such as this are essential to the creation of wealth in Western Australia. They are the backbone of our economy.
"Our challenge now is to channel some of that wealth into establishing new industries which will process these materials here in Western Australia. We must add value to create long-term jobs.
"For instance, Western Australia's growing aerospace industry is one which uses nickel processed to aviation standards but which currently has to import from overseas.
"I would encourage companies such as Outokumpu to grasp the opportunity offered by our policies to develop secondary processing activities."
The Premier said Outokumpu was to be complemented on proceeding with project at a time when nickel prices were depressed. The immediate outcome was 200 new jobs in regional Western Australia.
The company was also looking to further major investment in WA and the Premier will be holding discussions with the company and encouraging them to consider secondary processing opportunities.