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Wednesday, Nov 22, 2006

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Australia seeks investment in energy, mining

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NEW OPPORTUNITIES: The Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Mr Murli Deora, and the Australian Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, Mr Ian Macfarlane, in the Capital on Tuesday. - Ramesh Sharma

New Delhi , Nov. 21

Australia has invited Indian investment in energy and mining and assured India of providing the latest technology in mining and mineral exploration.

Speaking at a luncheon meeting, Mr Ian Macfarlane, the visiting Australian Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, said that trade in energy and resources were the drivers of the bilateral economic relationship.

Mr Macfarlane also said that Australia would participate in the International Mining and Machinery Exhibition (IMME) in Kolkata as a partner country with a strong contingent of 40 leading organisations.

This would also be the largest mining event that the Australian Government would be taking part in this year.

Australian companies exhibiting at IMME 2006 reflect the country's role as a world leader in the export of mining and technology services, he said.

The Minister also said that his country's exports of mining equipment were estimated to have exceeded $1.8 billion last fiscal and are likely to grow to over $4.5 billion by 2010.

He highlighted Australia's strong position as the world's largest exporter of coal, iron ore, lead, diamonds, rutile, zinc and zirconium and as the second largest exporter of gold and uranium.

"Up to 80 per cent of Australia's production is exported and we have a long-standing reputation as a secure, reliable and competitive supplier of these."

Later, Mr Macfarlane met the Petroleum Minister, Mr Murli Deora, and invited Indian companies to take part in exploration of natural gas and coal-bed methane.

He said that both countries could work together in development of natural gas and its technology.

The market for LNG would be tight over the next couple of years, he said, and expected the situation to ease once new capacities come on stream in 2011-12.

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