RESOURCE SECTOR STANDS FIRM AGAINST COVID
Resources Minister Keith Pitt has welcomed the long term commitment by some of Australia’s largest mining and upstream petroleum companies to major resources projects, despite the major economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I understand the extremely difficult situation facing companies and workers across the economy including in the resources and energy sector,” he said.
“Any project delays are deeply regrettable and any people losing their jobs in the short term is something the Government is working hard to avoid and minimise – be that direct employees or the numerous contractors and sub-contractors that work in this sector.
“We simply can’t afford to lose the skills and knowledge that these workers bring to the country. “The next few months are going to challenge the industry – just as we can’t lose our skill base, nor can we afford to lose the companies in the sector that will be critical to leading Australia’s economic recovery.” The Australian Government strongly welcomed the announcement by BHP that it was looking to employ an additional 1500 workers and contractors at many of its existing sites.
“This reflects the very healthy state of BHP and in particular how iron ore prices have defied expectations and remained strong during the current pandemic,” Mr Pitt said.
“BHP is showing real confidence in the sector and its supports for workers is very welcome. “What we can be sure of is that our resources sector is strong and resilient. Australians can be confident that it will remain a powerhouse of the nation’s economy providing hundreds of thousands of jobs.”
The Government also acknowledged the statement by Woodside that it is deferring the final investment decisions on the Scarborough, Pluto Train 2 and Browse LNG projects until there is more certainty about global gas demand and the green shoots of an economic recovery.
Woodside has emphasised this is a delay, not a cancellation, and that these projects as part of the Burrup Hub are some of the cost competitive LNG investment opportunities in the world.
In a similar vein, Santos has announced the deferral of a final investment decision on the Barossa Offshore Gas Project to backfill Darwin LNG. Again, this is a deferral, not a cancellation, with the Darwin LNG and Barossa being low cost brownfields projects that can be brought quickly into development once conditions improve.
Mr Pitt said the resources sector had developed a set of health and safety protocols to protect workers and local communities, which included strict standards on transport and procedures on mine sites.
Where possible jurisdictions will work together to maximise the ability of workers to move between states and territories, with each state regularly reviewing its requirements in accordance with the advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee and respective State and Territory Chief Medical Officers.
“The resources sector remains well positioned to lead Australia’s economic recovery,” Mr Pitt said.