FMG chief talks up big­ger Pil­bara

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr and Ben Leahy

■ A goal for Port Hed­land and Kar­ratha to each have a pop­u­la­tion of 50,000 peo­ple by 2035 is not op­ti­mistic enough, ac­cord­ing to Fortes­cue Met­als Group chief ex­ec­u­tive Nev Power.

Re­spond­ing to ques­tions as to whether he sup­ported the Cham­ber of Min­er­als and En­er­gies’ stance that the Pil­bara needed a “re­al­ity check” when it came to pop­u­la­tion tar­gets, Mr Power said we should be more am­bi­tious.

“We should be set­ting more am­bi­tious stretch tar­gets to ad­dress pop­u­la­tion and the key to that is get­ting the right bal­ance be­tween busi­ness, gov­ern­ment and com­mu­nity con­tri­bu­tions to build com­mu­ni­ties which at­tract peo­ple,” he said.

“Just look at the Mackay area which has 10 times (our pop­u­la­tion) on the same lat­i­tude.”

Mr Power said he be­lieved a res­i­den­tial model where work­ers in re­mote mines were driven to site from es­tab­lished towns in the Pil­bara could be de­vel­oped over time to re­place the fly-in, fly-out model.

CME chief ex­ec­u­tive Reg Howard-Smith told the Pil­bara News re­cently there was a risk there might not be enough de­mand for the fa­cil­i­ties be­ing built based on cur­rent pop­u­la­tion tar­gets.

Mr Howard-Smith said while new fa­cil­i­ties should go ahead, the scale of the projects might not be war­ranted.

Pil­bara MLA Bren­don Grylls de­scribed Mr Howard-Smiths’ com­ments as “ex­tremely dam­ag­ing” to con­fi­dence in the re­gion. La­bor MLC Stephen Daw­son took a less hard­line ap­proach, sug­gest­ing a “stock take” of Pil­bara Ci­ties pop­u­la­tion tar­gets might be in or­der.

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