Sat June 16, 2012 5:55am
FOREIGN investors are looking at the Eyre Peninsula as a place to build minerals processing plants, an economic forum in Adelaide was told yesterday.
Centrex Metals managing director Jim White said South Australia should look beyond exporting raw minerals and seek the benefits of a downstream industry.
"We've clearly got a very significant mineral resource in South Australia," he told a Committee for Economic Development of Australia forum.
"We've got an increasing number of mines but we need to focus on what we do with the output from those mines. We have a real opportunity with some of our infrastructure and some of our skills base to add significant value."
Centrex, which is developing a string of iron projects in Eyre Peninsula, has two Chinese partners - Wuhan Iron and Steel and Baotou Iron and Steel.
"They see this jurisdiction, South Australia, as a place where they would like not only to mine - because the mineral resources are here - but also to process," he said.
"Processing adds a massive amount of value to the product and also adds massively to the economic and social infrastructure.
"It's much more engaging with the communities in which we work."
Mr White said the Eyre Peninsula had a natural advantage because of potential deep water ports which would not need dredging.
The area was already connected to the national electricity grid, although this needed upgrading, and had a well established network of towns to provide a residential backbone.
KPMG partner and SA leader on resources Derek Meares told the CEDA forum SA potentially ticked many of the boxes for investors - infrastructure, social licence to operate, the state of the global economy and sovereign risk.
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