Mining wealth portrayed as certainty – again

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By ERWIN CHLANDA

Is it the news that Arafura Rare Earths, 135 kilometres north of Alice Springs, “will produce” something which is “in high demand for environmentally friendly, high tech applications such as magnets for electric vehicles, mobile phones, wind turbines and so on?

Not really. Arafura is being “offered the grant of mineral leases” which follows another “regulatory milestone” which was being awarded Major Project status by the Territory Government.

This is a long way from a mine opening up in global uncertainty surpassed only by WWII.

But we’re told the venture “will deliver significant economic and employment opportunities for Central Australia … up to 650 jobs will be created during the construction phase over a 30 month period and 280 jobs during the operational phase.

“These same opportunities will be extended to the Anmatyerr people … through jobs, training and economic development pathways.”

So says Minister for Primary Industry and Resources, Paul Kirby, in a media release.

However, what Arafura Managing Director Gavin Lockyer says is a lot less bullish, namely that this “brings us one step closer to a final investment decision at a time when critical minerals, such as rare earths, are in growing demand around the world” providing “investors with a major confidence boost that the project is ready to proceed, subject to finance“.

And this is the government’s second misleading announcement of this kind within a fortnight and due to face the voters in less than a month.