“I think it’s time to be less tolerant with those who criticise us,” Plimer told delegates, prompting widespread applause.
“We are in an industry which is not understood. Mining has given us what we have.
“Consumers have a choice, either we can support the mining industry and the 82 elements of the periodic table that we use, or we can go back to the rift valley of Africa.”
Plimer said there were more than 3300 permits and approvals needed for the Hancock GVK Alpha coal mine in Queensland.
“It took years and a huge amount of money,” Plimer said.
“We have legislation which takes years to enact, we have impediments.
“This is a recipe telling the rest of the world that we have extreme policies in this country.”
Plimer said Australia was losing competitiveness and, as capital expenditure and labour costs kept rising it was pushing more mining investment offshore.
“We know it’s becoming tougher and tougher to operate in this country,” he said.
“Australia is becoming a high sovereign-risk country.”
In what turned into a bit of a rant, Plimer also explained the history of climate change, irrespective of mining emissions, and how rural Australia was punching above its weight.
“The rural areas in northern Australia which produce wealth have no infrastructure,” Plimer said.
Plimer serves on the board of Ivanhoe Australia, Silver City Minerals and Hancock Prospecting, which is currently developing the $A10 billion Roy Hill iron ore project in the Pilbara.
The Hancock-GVK joint venture is also awaiting environmental approval for its Kevin’s Corner mine in the Galilee basin.
This article first appeared in ILN sister publication MiningNews.net.