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after the mining boom « Previous | |Next »
August 24, 2012

BHP Billiton’s news about falling profits and that it was shelving the planned $20 billion expansion of Olympic Dam (a uranium, copper and gold mine) is a clear indication that the mining boom is winding down. It was subdued commodity prices, declining terms of trade, and higher capital costs associated with removing billions of tonnes of overburden at Olympic Dam that was the basis of BHP Billiton’s decision.

Mining booms collapse in the face of global economic crises--China’s economy has slowed in response to the economic crisis within the eurozone and the sluggish state of the US economy. The peak in investment in Australia is close. The temporary boom doesn't do that much for increased employment and income within Australia, given the hollowing out of the manufacturing sector.


So where to now for Australia? We do need to start thinking about a "post-resource" Australia. Will it be a transition to a low-carbon economy? A deeper engagement with an information and /or digital economy? Will the focus be on brains and high-quality products---a brains-knowledge-information-skills based society that protects the environment?

We have probably seen the the last gasp in the expansion of the coal, oil and gas industries as tge economic transformation is underway with the fossil fuel industry on the defensive.

Will there now be a massive investment in education and training now that we realize that the future of Australia is not in the resource-based industries. Nor is it in manufacturing at the low grade product low-skilled end. It is more in the high IT end.

The Liberal Party have reversed their position from smashing and tearing down the NBN anymore to accepting that the NBN is there to stay. They propose to build a cheaper NBN---a Fibre-to-the-Node (FttN) instead of Fibre to the Premises (FttP) --its short term thinking.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:54 AM | | Comments (3)


MIke Rann claimed the mining boom would swiftly change the economic foundations of South Australia. There was no end to the ore at Olympic Dam and it was going to deliver for decades to come.

The boom never happened in South Australia. So the sky isn't going to fall in.

Re Gary's last para, wasn't that their position basically from the beginning, re broadband?
We have seen Tony Abbott's deep concern that the 99% are not being screwed to yield yet more tax cuts and concessions to the 1% surface this week. The deeply wounded moral outrage has been voiced publically more and more, culminate in this week's outcry over Swan and Gillard's brutal "thug" behaviour toward the wall-flower mining industry.
Education cuts and media dumbing down continue apace. Who can believe that this country will become the clever country when everything is done on the cheap and nasty?
I just can't see much "engagement" coming when the nation state also now uses electronics to suffocate critical thinking rather than encourage it.
Too much Atlas Shrugged, too much rent seeking and vengeful retaliation against pro-thought advocates.
To much denialism, less and less intellectual bravery.
The Spanish Empire in decline is more the model I think we will see, than the boldness of the twentieth century.

prices for iron ore will continue to drop as Chinese demand lessens, due to declining exports.