First CITIC shipment a major investment milestone

Media release

2 December 2013

Today we are reminded of the substantial benefits foreign investment brings to Australia with the first shipment of iron ore concentrate from the multi-billion-dollar Sino Iron project in Western Australia's Pilbara.

Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb congratulated CITIC Pacific Mining on this significant milestone in a project that represents China's biggest investment in Australia's resources sector.

"The Sino Iron project, with its first shipment today from Cape Preston, marks a very important chapter in the history of foreign investment into our country which we of course warmly welcome," Mr Robb said.

"Since the first fleet Australia has relied on foreign investment to help fund major projects and to support jobs and economic growth which has led to the prosperity we enjoy today."

The Sino Iron project involves the mining and large-scale processing of low grade magnetite ore into high grade concentrate for export and will be the biggest project of its kind in Australia.

It will supply CITIC Pacific's own steel mills as well as other steel producers in China. When fully operational the project is expected to yield 24 million tonnes of concentrate per year.

The project commenced in 2008 and involved substantial investment in infrastructure, including a new port facility, concentrate processing facilities, a new power station as well as a desalination plant.

During peak construction last year 4,000 people worked on the project and it will support an operational workforce of around 1,000 people on an ongoing basis. It will also contribute tens-of-billions of dollars to Australia's export income and deliver billions of dollars in state royalties.

Mr Robb said the government was determined to see projects like this succeed by doing everything possible to reduce the cost of doing business in Australia.

"We should strive to 're-boot' the mining boom by providing the most competitive operating environment possible. We need to ensure projects in the existing 'pipeline' are realised and that new ones are attracted.

"This is why it is so important to remove unnecessary taxes like the carbon and mining taxes, to aggressively remove red and green tape and to streamline approval processes.

"The world is full of choices so we need to be very pro-active in securing foreign investment to ensure projects like Sino Iron are realised in the years ahead," Mr Robb said.

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