Is the WA housing market making a come back?
With a few large projects happening can we assume that the effects are starting to be seen? Is the housing market on the uprise?
Rio Tinto’s $3.5 billion Koodaideri iron ore mine is a welcome investment
Australia’s three major iron ore miners have committed to spending a total of $9 billion on new mining projects across the WA Pilbara creating thousands of jobs!
Earlier this year, BHP announced it would construct its $4.7 billion South Flank mine in WA’s central Pilbara and Fortescue Metals Group approved development of its $1.7 billion Eliwana mine.
There have also been significant investments in the development of lithium mines across the state on the back of growing demand for battery storage devices.
The large spending comes after a dearth of mining investment in the state over the past five years.
So is this the start of another mining boom?
Unfortunately no, it is not. Although these numbers sound vast and promising compares the the investments made previously (between 20014-2012) these number are minimal. For example in December 2012 WA had $287 billion in investment projects.
“It’s chalk and cheese really,” said John Nicolaou from consultancy firm ACIL Allen, who said the previous boom was an “order of magnitude” different in comparison.
“Boom is not a dirty word, but I don’t think we can talk about boom in the same way we saw during the resources boom in the last decade.
“That was a once in a lifetime economic expansion that’s unlikely to be repeated.
“What we’re seeing now is an extension of that boom as miners like Rio Tinto are expanding their operations and maintaining their production levels, so it’s a sound financial decision.”.
What about the Lithium Mine and Bunbury?
The lithium mine is set-up in a small town Greenbushes (between Bridgetown and Balingup). Lithium – the metal and its chemical compounds have ling been used in aluminium smelting, lubricants, pharmaceuticals, glassware and ceramics. the three-stage mine expansion, which will include the clearing if more State forest and likely a big increase in the number of haulage trucks sharing the region’s roads, could test local communities. There is also a concern of meeting the local expectations that with the mine’s permanent workforce set to abut 650 which will all be attempting to perch nearby to avoid travelling.
However the positive news everyone is talking about is the actual processing plant that will be located in Kemerton – this is a much more interesting development for the Bunbury area. The proposed plant on a 89ha site 17km north-east of Bunbury will comprise five 20,000 tpa process trains.
Albemarle Corporation will need 500 workers when it builds the $1 billion lithium plant in the Kemerton industrial area. A further 500 jobs will be created when the plant starts producing the 100,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide its five processing trains are being designed to handle each year.
This is great news however how long will it last? Will the workers decide to purchase or rent in the area or are they going to travel for work? All of the unknowns are still evident as it is early days in this plan. But fingers crossed this is the push Bunbury has been waiting for.