Peter Costello got stuck into Kim Beazley last Thursday for seriously
over-playing the government’s reliance on the mining boom but in trying
to undermine the man he may face at the 2007 federal election, our
Treasurer went the other way and seriously under-stated how natural
resources are driving the economy.

“Mining only represents 4% of the Australian GDP,” the Treasurer
declared, presumably leaving energy projects such as oil and gas out of
the equation.

But how can that be when our economy will crack the magical $1 trillion mark in 2006-07 and ABARE is forecating

Only last month ABARE released this report
spruiking the fact that Australia currently has a record 90 energy and
mineral projects under construction or committed to which are worth a
staggering $34 billion.

And ABARE’s 2006-07 outlook conference in February heard that “the total value of Australia’s minerals and energy exports is now forecast to be
$101 billion in 2006-07, a rise of 8 per cent”.

It seems the Treasurer is being cute and excluding “energy” from his calculations about the importance of “mining”.

As our list of $1 billion-plus recource projects shows, Australia is
arguably more reliant on resources projects than we’ve ever been and
here are another five to add to the list:

Angel Gas: The $1.6 billion gas project in the Carnarvon Basin
is due to begin production in 2008-09. The owners are Woodside, BHP
Billiton, BP, Chevron Texaco, Shell and Japan Australian LNG.

Mt Owen: Xstrata coal mine in NSW which produces 5 million tonnes

Beltana: 5 million tonnes a year from this underground mine NSW levies a 6% royalty which generates about ???? a year.

5% for deep underground mines
- 6% for other underground mines
- 7% for open cut mines.

.

Bulga Complex together
produce 8 million tonnes.

Cooper Basin SA: Santos 66.6%, Delhi 20.2% and Origin Energy
13.2%. South Australian taxpayers enjoy royalties of more than $50
million a year and with Santos 70% Australian owned, local ownership is
just over 50%.

Cooper Basin Queensland: Santos 60.06%, Delhi 23.2% and Origin
Energy 16.74%. Queensland taxpayers enjoy royalties of more than $50
million a year and with Santos 70% Australian owned, local ownership is
just over 50%.

Bendigo Gold: the new $379 million near Bendigo will eventually
ramp up to 600,000 ounces a year worth about $500 million a year at
current prices.

Clermont: Rio Tinto’s replacement $400 million mine for Blair
Athol in Queensland’s Bowen Basin is due to open in 2008 and the 12
million tonne a year of production will be worth ???? based on current
prices. The Queensland Government will extract its usual 7% royalty.

Cowal: Barrack Gold’s new $500 million gold mine near West
Wyalong in NSW has just started production and at full capacity will
produce 230,000 ounces a year worth $184 million at $800
prices. Zero Australian ownership but the NSW government extracts
a ????? royalty.


Enfield:
the new $1.5 billion oilfield development in the
Carnarvon Basin is operated by Woodside Petroleum and will go into
production later in 2006. At full capacity of 100,000 barrels a day, it
will generate $330 million a year at current prices. The Federal
Government’s Petroleum Resource Rent Tax will extract more than $50
million a year from the project but WA taxpayers will get nothing.

Hail Creek: the Queensland mine 100km west of Mackay is owned by
Rio Tinto, Nippon Steel, Marubeni and Sumisho and is currently
undergoing a $300 million expansion to lift capacity to ????

Vincent: $980 million oilfield development in the Carnarvon Basin is operated by Woodside Petroleum.

Stybarrow: $820 million oilfield development in the Carnarvon Basin is operated by BHP Billiton.

Yolla Gas: The $1 billion Bass Strait gas project is owned by
Origin, AWE, CalEnergy, Santos and Wandoo. It will produce 20PJ
of natural gas, 80 ktpa of LPG and 3.3kbd of condensate.

Peter Fray

A lot can happen in 3 months.

3 months is a long time in 2020. Join us to make sense of it all.

Get you first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12. Cancel anytime.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

12 weeks for $12