Australian mining industry expects Chinese market, investment to keep driving growth

(Xinhua) 14:31, July 09, 2024

SYDNEY, July 9 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese market and investment will continue to provide growth momentum as Australia is determined to revitalize its industrial manufacturing amid the ongoing global energy transition, executives in the country's mining industry told Xinhua.

In the past two decades, China's imports of and investment in Australia's mineral resources have further promoted the development and prosperity of the two countries, fully demonstrating the win-win situation of practical cooperation between the sides.

Chinese investment has been incredibly important to Australia's resources industry, and China remains a really important market for both traditional and established minerals like iron ore and critical minerals, said Warren Pearce, chief executive officer of the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies.

"In the last 15 years, it's been China's investment that helped us turn on major new projects," Pearce said. "We've been a major beneficiary of that investment, and it has really helped Australia's prosperity."

"It's important we actually continue that good trading relationship that's been mutually beneficial for both countries," he said.

Rio Tinto's chief executive Jakob Stausholm said China has been a critical partner for Australia's mining industry for decades and there is a long history of mutually beneficial partnerships between both countries.

"China is a driving force for the global economy, and the world's top metals' consumer," Stausholm said. "China's strong demand for high-quality minerals such as iron ore and copper has generated substantial opportunities for investment and trade, and has helped to power Australia's economy."

"Today, China is our largest market and home to our biggest stakeholder. With China's strong determination to further open up, it will continue to be a pillar for Rio Tinto's long-term success," he said.

Dino Otranto, chief executive officer of Fortescue Metals, praised China as an exceptional partner for Australia, and the state of Western Australia in particular.

"Most of the mining industry here can thank China's support over many years, going back more than 50 years. In my home state here, Western Australia, China has been there from the start," Otranto said. "We really couldn't be here today without the support of China."

"And moving forward, I think the relationships between Australia and China ... will continue to forge new pathways moving forward," Otranto said.

Vandita Pant, chief financial officer (CFO) of BHP, said the demand for Australian minerals and investment in the sector have underpinned the development of mining projects, infrastructure, and technological advancements which have been a key driver of economic growth and prosperity for both countries. This has also driven growth, innovation, and job creation within the mining sector, she said.

Looking ahead, China's continued focus on urbanization, industrialization and developing new quality productive forces will sustain demand for high-quality mineral resources from Australia, such as iron ore, met coal and copper, Pant said.

"This ongoing demand will help support the growth of Australia's mining sector and contribute to the economic prosperity of both China and Australia," Pant said.

Stausholm said China has been making breakthroughs in green technologies and products by building a leading industry supply chain.

"That provides opportunities and potential for collaboration with global partners including Australian businesses to better address climate change," said the Rio Tinto's chief executive, adding that Chinese companies can bring expertise and investment to develop value-added facilities in Australia, benefiting local resources and Australian technological innovation.

Otranto said Fortescue Metals had announced an ambitious plan to transform its energy system to completely green by 2030, and he believed China is uniquely placed to supply the wind and solar technology in large-scale manufacturing to enable the company to achieve the goal.

Pant spoke highly of China's transformation toward net-zero, saying China's investment and progress in green manufacturing is at an "astounding" pace.

"I believe that there will be opportunities for companies with the right experience and expertise and that this could lead to shared growth and mutually beneficial outcomes for Australia and China as the net-zero transition continues," said the BHP CFO.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Zhong Wenxing)


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