Eyeing off new mineral deposits

CHANGE: Shifting the company s investment in known resources to exploration of new mineral deposits in uncharted territory may be a trend in 2013.A HALT to pre-feasibility work on Glencore-Xstrata’s Mount Isa Open Pit (MIOP) project may mark the start of a trend in 2013, shifting the company’s investment in known resources to exploration of new mineral deposits in uncharted territory.

Incoming Glencore-Xstrata Chief Executive Ivan Glasenberg hinted at the shift after telling media he preferred emerging economies over established mining industries in Australia and Canada for the lack of fiscal restrictions imposed by their governments.

Queensland Resources Council (QRC) boss Michael Roche said each project in the North West would have to meet rigorous standards around costs.

Mr Roche said positive growth was coming out of projects like MMG Limited’s Dugald River project and the expansion at Xstrata’s Ernest Henry Mine, both outside of Cloncurry, but the region would need to continue to prove they were globally competitive.

“Global resource companies have a menu of options around the world and we need to re-double our efforts around making our projects the most attractive for these big companies,” he said.

“We can’t assume a project we think is good for our country will be at the front of the queue.

“The way to jump the queue is to make sure our cost structures are globally competitive.”

“The quality of the established resources being mined in the Australia and Canada remain important, but Mr Roche said it was likely to be the cost of extracting those resource that would have mining companies looking elsewhere to make big profits.

“In other countries their approval processes are quicker and tax rates are lower.”

“So, even if you’re comparing similar quality deposits we also need to compete on those other grounds.”

Mr Roche said he was concerned Tuesday’s federal budget announcements would add even more restrictions to mining exploration, a key activity in the North West’s mining future.

“We are worried about talk around the federal budget which could involve a hit on exploration, making it less tax effective and more difficult,” he said.

“We need to face the fact that it’s been some years since we’ve had a major new discovery in the North West.”

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Illawarra business brains in budget review

The three sponsors of next Friday’s federal budget lunch in Wollongong have voiced concerns about how Tuesday’s budget will impact on the region’s businesses.

Mike Halloran, Adam Cole and Simon Pomfret. Picture: GREG ELLIS

Illawarra Business Chamber chief executive Mike Halloran, KPMG partner Adam Cole and IRIS Research executive director Simon Pomfret said yesterday that slow global economic recovery, weak business confidence and trading conditions had local businesses concerned.

“Businesses are worried that the current economic conditions and government commitment to NDIS and Gonski creates a strong likelihood of business tax hikes to support the rapidly weakening budget position,” Mr Halloran said.

Mr Cole said that the reduced tax revenue and decrease in economic activity meant funding any new policy initiatives presented a challenge.

“We have already seen proposed reforms to superannuation and the Medicare levy prior to the budget and it would not be surprising to see further business tax reforms,” he said.

“This could be in respect to foreign controlled companies and possibly some targeted reforms in the resources sector. I also wouldn’t rule out changes to the CGT [capital gains tax] rules. All in all this will be a critical budget for the government in articulating their vision for the future of Australia’s tax reforms.”

Mr Pomfret said despite the looming federal election the budget statement next week would demonstrate that the good times were over.

“The combination of big spending during the mining boom followed by a slump in tax receipts will force the government to make some tough decisions,” he said.

“The cut in interest rates this week indicates that the economy is very soft and an expansionary fiscal policy will be significant in keeping growth at trend rates.”

Illawarra Business Chamber, IRIS Research and KPMG Wollongong are planning to help local business understand the federal budget with a thorough commentary on how it will impact the region and businesses.

Mr Halloran said the federal budget lunch would be held at Villa D’oro Function Centre on Friday, May 17, to provide a complete analysis of the budget commitments, outline changes to taxation and provide insight to the effects of the budget.

“There will also be a Q&A time for questions to be answered by our expert panel, which will include Peter Siebels, national managing partner of KPMG Private Enterprise.” he said.

Ticket sales close on Monday at www.illawarrabusiness苏州美睫培训.au or phone 4229 4722.

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No Morris? No worries: answers to the Blues ‘crisis’

There’s been a lot of people worrying about the Blues team, given the injuries to Brett Stewart and Brett Morris the past few days.

But why all the worry? Have they not looked at the depth we’ve got in NSW?

Given the two Bretts are highly unlikely to play at least the first Origin, obviously Blues coach Laurie Daley is going to have to reassess the make-up of his backline.

But it’s not like he has limited options.

Jarryd Hayne will now be a walk-up starter as fullback and as for the wingers, he’s got players like Akuila Uate, Blake Ferguson, Nathan Merritt, even young Jorge Taufua from Manly could come into the frame.

I know it’s a shame for Morris and Stewart because they would probably have been walk-up starters, but we do have plenty of depth there.

I’d be much more worried if Paul Gallen and James Tamou went down at the same time.

Hayne at fullback is a no-brainer to me now, and if I was selecting the team from the outset, I would have had him there in the first place.

Stewart is a quality player but he’s had a chronic knee injury for a long time now and you can’t afford that sort of stuff in an Origin camp.

Knights man Akuila Uate. Picture: RYAN OSLANDIt’s hard for him to train and do everything with the rest of the guys and when you’ve got a 10-day camp for an Origin encounter, you want and need everyone in it together.

You don’t want one or two players on minimal training schedules to nurse their injuries through – you need fit guys who can participate in everything the coach wants.

Hayne is the type of player who could win you an Origin series. That’s how good he is.

He just needs that energy boost before a game.

I know he looks lazy sometimes and that he’s not interested, but the past couple of weeks he’s been chasing everything down, he’s been playing with a renewed enthusiasm and that’s great to see so close to Origin.

I don’t know what Eels coach Ricky Stuart says to him before games sometimes but the past few weeks, it’s certainly been working.

I would love to see Laurie think outside the square and give someone like Taufua a chance on a wing in Origin.

I know he’s only 21 and played only 30-odd games but he’s a big, strong, powerful brute of a bloke who would fit perfectly into the Origin arena.

Don’t go soft on hits

Rugby league is heading down a very narrow path towards becoming too soft, and it worries me.

I was surprised and disappointed when Steve Matai (pictured above, well contained by the Rabbitohs defence) copped a week’s suspension for his hit on George Burgess a fortnight ago.

I understand he has a long rap sheet but his tackle hit the ball and then bounced up.

You can’t ban all the hard hits in our game. People go to matches to see blokes taking each other on.

If you take that fabric out of the contest and suddenly players are too scared to go in hard for fear of punishment, you’re going to get more injuries as well.

Don’t take the confrontation out of the game, please!

Rugby league will become two-handed touch and who wants to watch that? No-one.

Accidents happen, blokes will get hurt and need stitches and whatever else but that’s all part of the game.

We all know that before we sign up to play.

If you hit someone illegally, sure, you’ll get a few weeks and you’ve got to cop that, but just don’t go making our great game soft.

One rule for Dugan

I applaud the Dragons adding Josh Dugan (above)to their books, whenever it officially happens.

But I don’t think placing all these different stipulations on the kid like you’re barred from Facebook and you’re barred from social media or whatever and we’ll punish you is the way to go.

The contract should simply say that if you want to embrace that sort of stuff, fine, but you won’t be playing with us.

No ifs, no buts.

Simply put, no anything.

Just one hard and fast rule for the youngster.

Josh will be a great asset to the Dragons.

The kid can play and once he gets rid of all the crap from his life, he’ll be an even better player.

Kudos to the Dragons for giving him another chance.

You can’t blame the Canberra Raiders for giving him the flick but it’s good the Dragons will pick him up and hopefully get him back on the right path.

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The Voice is now a face in the crowd

The power of television was undeniable yesterday as 100 Year 7 boys at St Stanislaus’ College screamed Ryan Sanders’ name.

The former contestant of The Voice was visiting his old school to mentor the young music students.

Ryan finished his schooling at Stannies’ in 2011. And while none of the new boys had met him before, in their eyes he was a superstar.

Ryan visited the school at the invitation of the school’s music co-ordinator Victoria Roth, his former music teacher.

He was delighted to be back at Stannies’ performing for the students.

VIDEO: Ryan Sanders is our choice for The Voice

“Things have changed, but the boys haven’t,” he said grinning.

“It’s nice to be back. I’m hoping the kids will enjoy my music as much as I did when people would come and play for us at assembly. It was always great to get out of class.”

Ryan played Brother, the song he performed for his Voice audition, accompanied by his guitarist Andrew Dean.

The 19-year-old said appearing on The Voice has given him a lot of exposure and he has been busy ever since.

At the moment he is focusing on performing for charities, in particular the Cancer Council.

“The show has provided me with some great opportunities,” he said.

READ MORE: Bathurst’s Ryan Sanders is our choice for The Voice

READ MORE: Final performance ‘hard to watch’ for Ryan

Ms Roth said she has stayed in touch with Ryan since he left school and it was great to be able to invite him back.

She feels his appearance at the school will prove to be very beneficial for her students.

“Some boys need to connect to the real work end of music,” she said.

“This is about them making that connection. It’s all about connection.”

Ms Roth said the music program at Stannies’ is non-stop.

In three weeks’ time they will be putting on the musical Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

MOBBED: Ryan Sanders was mobbed by Year 7 music students at St Stanislaus’ College when he returned to his old school for a visit yesterday. BELOW: Ryan on The Voice. Photo: ZENIO LAPKA 050913zsanders1

Ms Roth said the school has a tradition of presenting good musical theatre.

“When you are a music teacher you hope boys who choose music in their senior years will take it with them into their lives,” she said.

“So when I see Ryan taking it to that next level, that makes me very happy.”

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