WA mining still strong: Government

The WA Department of Mines and Petroleum says new statistics show the mining boom is still in full swing, and WA is generating billions in sales from the sector.

Department figures show sales from the state’s mining and petroleum industry rose 4.4 per cent over the last financial year, and iron ore sales rose 14 per cent on the previous year.

Gold also recorded a 14 per cent rise, with iron ore and gold accounting for 86 per cent of the state’s mineral sales.

Overall the WA industry returned $106 billion in sales during 2011-12, with iron ore accounting for $61.1 billion, petroleum for $23.8 billion, and gold $9.4 billion.

DMP director general Richard Sellers said in a statement the statistics showed the WA resources industry was still powering ahead.

“We all know there has been speculation about the end of the resources ‘boom,’ but this did not even exist in the first place – as a ‘boom’ is represented by an acute rise and fall,” he said.

“What these latest statistics show is that the WA resources industry remains robust, and much of this is due to WA’s close proximity to Asia and extensive reserves.”

But while the Government remains bullish on the sector, miners themselves are taking a more reserved outlook.

Yesterday Rio Tinto said it was aiming to cut $4 billion in costs due to softening demand, and while the WA iron ore assets remain a bright spot for the company, they have not been spared from cutbacks over recent months.

Along with most resources companies Rio’s Pilbara rivals BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals Group have made significant cost cutting measures in WA to keep their head above water.

Today iron ore miner Grange Resources also cut 18 jobs and delayed its multi-billion dollar Southdown magnetite project in southwest WA due to high development costs.

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