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WA gold industry vows to fight future royalty threats - ABC

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

The Western Australian gold industry has vowed to continue to fight possible royalty rate rises, with a number of leading miners banding together to form a group to champion the industry.

The Gold Industry Group was launched on Tuesday in Kalgoorlie during the annual Diggers and Dealers mining conference.

Group chairman, former minister for mines and petroleum Norman Moore, said the group was a combination of gold miners, exploration companies and other groups involved in the gold industry.

"It was initiated as a result of the work done by the Gold Royalty Response Group when there was a suggestion that the government might increase the royalty on gold," he said.

"That was a campaign against gold royalties and we're now broadening that to promoting gold which is a very, very significant part of the WA economy."

Founding members of the Gold Industry Group include Gold Fields, Gold Road Resources, Doray Minerals, Norton Gold Fields and Ramelius Resources.

Gold Road Resources is developing the Gruyere deposit, which is WA's biggest greenfields gold discovery in a decade, located within the Yamarna belt close to the Northern Territory border.

Chairman Ian Murray said the gold sector was facing challenges as discoveries were becoming more difficult, so the industry needed to be better supported.

"Gold discoveries have dried up in the last 10 years," he said.

"Companies have to be out there for five or 10 years before they make a discovery."

Education key to successful gold future: Ian Murray

Mr Murray said educating the next generation and continued investment in regional areas was key to the gold sector's successful future.

"Our kids are not taught this history of WA, they're not taught about how reliant WA is on mining and Kalgoorlie wouldn't be here without the historic gold discoveries," he said.

Deloitte Access Economics partner Matt Judkins said the group would help support the gold sector deal with the fluctuations in WA's economy.

"I won't say we're a boom and bust economy, but we're definitely a cyclical economy," he said.

"That's really where I think the Gold Industry Group will play a pretty key role in promoting gold as an asset class, but also making sure the policy settings are correct to allow for a sustainable and long-lived industry."

He said there was a lot of pessimism in the sector with low commodity prices and reduced exploration.

"It is getting more and more challenging to find capital and it's having a terrible impact on the exploration sector, and that is the lifeline of the minerals sector," he said.

WA's gold mines produce more than 70 per cent of Australia's gold and the industry directly employs more than 20,000 people.


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