august memories / 02


2nd August, 1963 : Western Australia is hoping to became a centre for steel production and iron-ore exports after signing a £78 million deal with Hamersley Iron Pty Ltd for development over the next thirty years. If approved by the State Parliament, the agreement will give the company prospecting rights over 2,600 square miles in the mineral-rich Pilbara, in the north-west of the State, and a subsequent right to lease 300 square miles. It is planned to spend at least £40 million to build an integrated iron and steel industry and £30 million on facilities for export.

[And today, almost fifty years later:-”The head of BHP Billiton’s iron ore division has told thousands of his staff that the mining giant is reviewing its growth plans in the Pilbara amid mounting speculation it has decided to delay a $US20 billion ($19bn) expansion of its Port Hedland harbour for at least two years.

In an internal email sent yesterday and obtained by The Australian, BHP iron ore president Jimmy Wilson said the resources industry was “facing numerous challenges including substantial capital and operating cost escalation and decreasing commodity prices”…

The possible delays and job cuts come after The Weekend Australian revealed last week that BHP might also be planning to delay for two years a decision on whether to proceed with a $US30bn expansion of the Olympic Dam copper and uranium mine in South Australia.”]

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