Pitt praise in face of coronavirus

FEDERAL mines minister Keith Pitt has praised Australia’s large resources players for staying the course with some of their major investments, despite the uncertainty thrown up by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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BHP has been lauded for its efforts to hire more people.

He acknowledged oil and gas players Woodside and Santos delaying various projects but lauded the mining industry, BHP in particular for its efforts.

BHP announced last week that it would be employing 1500 people on six month contracts and may even increase that number.

"This reflects the very healthy state of BHP and in particular how iron ore prices have defied expectations and remained strong during the current pandemic," Pitt said.

"BHP is showing real confidence in the sector and its supports for workers is very welcome."

Pitt noted that companies across the resources and energy sector were facing different challenges and that many are looking to defer capital expenditure and reduce operating costs. "COVID-19 is an extraordinary challenge which hasn't been seen for generations - companies must position themselves to be there at the end of the crisis and be there to lead our economic recovery and for the long term future of the nation," he said.

"What we can be sure of is that our resources sector is strong and resilient. Australians can be confident that it will remain a powerhouse of the nation's economy providing hundreds of thousands of jobs.

"I understand the extremely difficult situation facing companies and workers across the economy including in the resources and energy sector.

"Any project delays are deeply regrettable and any people losing their jobs in the short term is something the government is working hard to avoid and minimise - be that direct employees or the numerous contractors and sub-contractors that work in this sector

"We simply can't afford to lose the skills and knowledge that these workers bring to the country.

"The next few months are going to challenge the industry - just as we can't lose our skill base, nor can we afford to lose the companies in the sector that will be critical to leading Australia's economic recovery.

Pitt acknowledged the statement by Woodside that it was deferring the final investment decisions on the Scarborough, Pluto Train 2 and Browse LNG projects until there was more certainty about global gas demand and the green shoots of an economic recovery.

Santos also announced the deferral of a final investment decision on the Barossa Offshore Gas Project to backfill Darwin LNG.




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