Positioning Australia to become the world's third largest copper producer will be the centrepiece of a new long-term strategy for the future of this major South Australian resource.
Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis will outline plans to develop a comprehensive long-term South Australian Copper Strategy at a high-level summit in Adelaide today.
The South Australian Copper Summit, being held at the Adelaide Convention Centre, will hear from speakers from major copper producers including BHP Billiton, OZ Minerals and Hillgrove Resources as well as service providers, academics and senior government officials.
Mr Koutsantonis said with more than two-thirds of Australia's total copper resource here in South Australia the state was ideally placed to boost annual production to rival global competitors.
"Chile currently produces more than 58 million tonnes of copper a year, while South Australia contributes just 300 000 tonnes," Mr Koutsantonis said.
With the right strategy in place, South Australia will aim to increase total annual output to 1 million tonnes within the next 15 years - a more than tripling of the current output.
"If we are successful, the increased contribution from South Australia would position Australia to overtake the United Sates, Peru and the Congo to become the world's third largest copper producer."
The South Australian community, industry, local government and other stakeholders will also be asked to contribute to the development of the Copper Strategy.
Mr Koutsantonis said amid falling commodity prices the outlook for copper remains positive.
"The urbanisation of the Asian economies continues to support market demand for copper and now is the time to position ourselves for the ext upturn in the cycle," he said.
"We will be looking beyond the current cycle to where South Australia should be in the next 10 to 15 years.
"The strategy will be informed by what we do across Government to support the industry and examine what we can do better.
"The strategy will bring together the work we do through the Plan for Accelerating Exploration (PACE) and the science we support through our Centres of Excellence and Cooperative Research Centres.
"It will also reflect the approach we take to skills training through TAFE SA, other providers, our universities and WorkReady, and the strategic planning currently being pursued by our Resources Infrastructure Taskforce.
"Copper producers, explorers, service providers, strategic planners, regulators and the community will all be encouraged to share their thoughts and their expertise on what we can do better, what obstacles can be removed and what we can do more of to maximise our natural advantages.
News release, Wednesday 6 May 2015
Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis
Minister for Finance
Minister for State Development
Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy
Minister for Small Business