South Australia seeks to poach WA miners

The South Australian Government has unveiled a new campaign to draw miners to the state, away from Western Australia.

The advertising campaign has taken out a full page in a Perth newspaper and will buy billboard space at the city’s airport, the ABC reports.

It highlights its "highly competitive, stable mineral royalty regime" as a key point in encouraging exploration in the state.

Western Australia premier Colin Barnett was recently accused by Federal treasurer Wayne Swan of misleading the State over mining royalty rises in its latest budget.

The budget included a rise in the rate for iron ore fines from the current 5.6% to 6.5% from July 2012, and then to 7.5% in 2013.

Barnett claimed that he had not increased royalties in the state budget announced last week, but rather removed the concession on iron ore “fines” that have been an issue for decades.

South Australian mineral resources minister Tom Koutsantonis said his state will not take miners for granted.

“Mining in Western Australia is beginning to be taken for granted and what I’m saying here is in South Australia we are just prospective, we are where Western Australia was maybe 25, 30 years ago.

“We in SA understand the inherent risk mining companies face in the initial stages of exploration which is why we have a concessional royalty rate of two per cent for new mines for the first five years,” Koutsantonis said.

“That means that we are nearly five and half-percent cheaper than Western Australian laws and this is for all new mines, whether for copper, gold, uranium or iron ore. If it is less profitable for companies to mine in Western Australia then we will make sure investors and companies know South Australia is an easier, more lucrative option.”

The Olympic Dam mine and OZ Minerals carried out a similar advertising campaign in April to entice miners to move to South Australia.

They posted billboards at Western Australian and Queensland airports that service remote mine sites, suggesting they move to Adelaide and work in the State.

“As people are travelling through airports in coming weeks, they’re going to see adverts for OZ Minerals offering the good lifestyle people can have if they live in Adelaide,” OZ managing director Terry Burgess said.

South Australia is developing a new image as one of the nation’s mining areas, with Premier Mike Rann recently tweeting that it is “increasing our awareness as a mining state”.

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