This is my second editorial for 2018 and the first thing I need to do is correct a serious omission from the first one.
I completely forgot to wish our readers a Happy New Year!
Almost two weeks in, people can be forgiven for not thinking of New Year but it still promises to be a good year for the North West.
If 2015 and 2016 were when the region was at the bottom of the economic cycle, than 2017 was a year when there were several green shoots of recovery and 2018 promises to be better still.
In mining, this is the year MMG ramp up to full production at their Dugald River zinc mine, while New Century is also looking to re-open the doors of the MMG’s old Century mine.
Completing a trifecta of zinc announcements, the news that Glencore was re-opening Lady Loretta this year was also cheery news before Christmas.
There is plenty happening in the world of copper too with Capricorn set to open, Altona’s Cloncurry Project set to prosper with the Copper Mountain merger and good prospects at Hammer, CopperChem and Minotaur reserves while Aeon Metals are leading the charge for some of the lesser known but equally valuable metals.
We need to see more action from the state government on developing the strategic blueprint for the North West Minerals Province and of course we also need to ensure that most if not all jobs generated in the process stay in the region and do not become Fly In Fly Out.
Beyond that, there is an important federal Senate inquiry into the high cost of regional air fares. Politicians must take action on this matter especially if the airlines are unco-operative as this situation is badly hurting the local economy and making us a less attractive destination for living and for business.
Action too is required on the serious crime situation in our region and I would like to see more cooperation between agencies to come up with innovative solutions.
It would be nice to see more improvement in the housing and jobs markets and a stabilisation of businesses in the CBD. It’s hard these days for all bricks-and-mortar businesses so it is important we continue to buy local when we can – Derek Barry