Phoenix Copper managing director Paul Dowd told delegates at yesterday’s Financial Review Australian Infrastructure Conference 2009, held in Sydney, that South Australia faces urgent infrastructure challenges if the State is to meet the needs of its new mineral economy.
Dowd, chairman of South Australia’s Resource Sector Infrastructure Council (RESIC), developed to steer the State’s crucial mining infrastructure, said that a recent categorisation of the State’s minerals provinces shows a massive infrastructure shortfall in the state.
“Current infrastructure, which was suitable for the State’s manufacturing economy, is not OK for the new mineral economy,” Dowd said.
South Australian spending on mineral exploration rose to a record quarterly high of $95.2 million in the June quarter of 2008.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures show mineral exploration expenditure in South Australia rose 3.2% in the 12 months to the end of June 2008 to $355.2 million compared with the 12 months to the end of March 2008.
According to Down, Government must play their part to underwrite investments in port, rail and services infrastructure to meet the needs of the State’s 30 minerals projects, with a combined capital expenditure of $24.7 billion.
“Port facilities are lacking, and this is a key challenge for the State,” Dowd said.
“There are currently only two deepwater ports suitable for loading Cape Size Vessels.”
Dowd also said that water and skills are also likely to hold back development in the State.