National merger may go ahead

The NT Resources Council is considering a national merger with 11 industry groups.

The Northern territory Resources Council may become a branch of the Minerals Council of Australia in a bid to create a uniform national lobby group.

A fortnight ago, Australia’s biggest mining companies sent a joint letter pushing for the merge of 11 resource lobby groups operating in Australia.

The letter urged the groups to consider rationalisation to prevent overlapping and duplication of legislation.

The letter, signed by chief executives at 11 companies including BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata, said it would “improve national consistency” and reduce a combined operating cost topping $45 million a year.

The Northern Territory Council’s CEO Scott Perkins said the council was reviewing operations and had identified some advantages to becoming part of a national group.

“If we can achieve better effectiveness and cost less in the classic cost effectiveness equation — well we’ll look at that,” he said.

“I think any industry, and the mining industry is no different, would be very wise to ensure that there was a consistent voice across the representative bodies.”

Perkins said while a national body would serve to strengthen the industry’s voice, there are subtle differences in the application of the law and regulations across various jurisdictions.

“It is also important to have people in various jurisdictions who understand the local scenarios,” he said.

Organisations targeted under the plan include the Australian Coal Association, the Australian Aluminium Council, the Australian Uranium Association and state and territory minerals councils.

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