The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP
The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP

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Media release

Australian Minister for Trade, Mark Vaile
16 January 2001

ITR exploring investment opportunities in Bangladesh

Trade Minister Mark Vaile today welcomed the announcement that the Government of Bangladesh would sign an agreement with Australian mineral sands mining company, International Titanium Resources (ITR), granting ITR a licence to explore the commercial dimensions of the mineral sands deposits around Cox's Bazaar in the country's south.

The initial exploration phase of the project will lead to investment by ITR of approximately AUD $3 million. The subsequent development of a mine and related infrastructure in the area is predicted to entail investment of around AUD $40 million, which would constitute Australia's largest single investment in Bangladesh to date.

"This agreement provides further substance to Australia's strengthening commercial relationship with Bangladesh," Mr Vaile said.

"South Asia has been accorded a particularly high priority by the Australian Government in recent years and we have worked hard in support of Australian companies' efforts to develop commercial links with the region. ITR's success demonstrates the value of this work, as well as the possible benefits accruing to other Australian companies interested in expanding into South Asia."

Australian trade with Bangladesh has grown significantly in the last five years, with exports having grown from AUD $92 million in the 1994-1995 financial year, to AUD $296 million in 1999-2000. Major commodity exports are dairy products, fruit, vegetables and cotton.

The Government will be represented at the signing ceremony by the Australian High Commissioner in Dhaka, Mr Robert Flynn.

James Baker (Ministerial) 02 62777420
Nicole Guihot (Departmental) 02 6261 1555

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