The China Mining Association has called on the Australian government to let more Chinese workers into the country in order to fast-track the construction of mining projects.
The association’s executive vice president, Wang Jiahua, told a Melbourne Mining Club lunch that Chinese companies investing in and building mining projects in Australia were struggling to find labour, and said China’s huge population of 1.3 billion could offer the solution.
"We can fully utilise the advantages of labour in China so that the projects can quickly achieve capacity for construction," Jiahua said.
"After that the Chinese labourers move back to China in stages and the project is handed fully to Australians to solve the unemployment rate in Australia too."
Jiahua also said that Australian miners were selling their minerals at prices that were too steep, forcing Chinese customers to post losses, The Australian reported.
He said the pricing of resources from companies like BHP Billiton could not be matched by China’s steel industry companies who were losing money.
Jiahua said a possible solution could lie in cross shareholdings, where Chinese steelmakers take stakes in Australian mines, ensuring they become more vertically aligned.
He said if current high pricing mechanisms continued, the Chinese government would reduce its capacity to buy Australian minerals, or look to develop their own mines.
"It is hard to imagine whatever the Chinese sell will be cheap, whatever the Chinese buy will be expensive to become the norm,' he said.
"The interests and profits for upstream and downstream businesses have reached a mismatch, this is not sustainable, not good and not beneficial for anyone.
"We need to choose and find a win-win path and get a strategy panned out"
Jiajua also took aim at the mining tax, infrastructure, and labour and Indigenous issues, which he claims are the main reasons why Chinese investment in Australia had come off of late.
However, he said the mining boom was not likely to end soon, with China’s continued growth set to continue as the nation moves on current plans to build ten cities.
The calls to allow more foreign workers into the country is set to draw the ire of unions who have consistently called for Australian jobs to be put first, claiming that some miners are rorting the 457 visa scheme.