Lang Hancock, The Sydney Morning Herald Annual Finance and Business Review, October 14, 1969, pp. 1-2.
At the beginning of this century the world used 26-million tons of iron ore (less than Hamersley Iron will be producing when Paraburdoo gets into full swing to support Tom Price).
Today it is using 700 million tons per year. Projections show that in 15 years’ time it will be using 1,400-million tons and will probably keep doubling every 15 years thereafter.
Where does this leave Australia with its 125 million million tons of iron-ore reserves?
It took 10 years to build the Suez Canal. If we took this amount of dirt out of Western Australia in the form of iron ore every single year, it will take longer to exhaust our reserves than it took man’s ancestors to come out of the trees and walk on two legs.
The Hamersley Iron Field is closer by sea to two-thirds of the world’s population than it is to Sydney.
In that vast sea of human beings there are only about three steel mills outside of Japan. USA has over 200. What a golden opportunity for north-west Australia to become the Ruhr of South-East Asia.
Our public is constantly being brainwashed with the story that Australian-produced steel is the cheapest in the world. It certainly should be, seeing that the major production costs by far, namely the positioning of the raw material at the steel mill’s door, are all in its favour.
On the other hand, the popular excuses for Australia not doing better industrially is because we have to compete with cheap Japanese labour; this is only in the minds of the uninformed.
Let me quote a recent observer of the Japanese economy:
The bare statistics of Japan’s growth and prosperity since World War II are worth citing — if for no other reason than to demolish any lingering impressions that this is still a country of cheap labour and interesting but generally inferior technology.
The average purchasing power of the average Japanese worker is on a level with the French worker’s.
In mechanical creature comforts, the Japanese are ahead, ranking with the British and the Germans in the percentage of households having refrigerators, washing machines and other electric appliances.
The percentage of Japanese families with ‘terehi’ (TV) sets is an awesome 90 per cent — just behind the USA.
Despite the above facts business people in Perth who are contemplating building their factories and offices in that State seem content to be informed by their architects that they must make provisions for a 50 per cent increase in price for 30 per cent of the steel being used, because it is imported, through failure of the local manufacturer to supply.
American steel mills, some of which are at present in the news, realise that the efficiency of the Japanese steel industry and its impact on world markets are indeed a threat to their supremacy.
They realise that if they are to continue to compete they must take a leaf out of the Japanese book.
The American steel mills, using somewhat antiquated techniques and being strategically badly located (they are not on the ocean front with access to world trade routes) realise that if they are to continue to compete they must shift their location to a seaside nearer the cheaper high-grade sources of supply that the Japanese are now enjoying.
In short, this means bringing their capital, manufacturing and marketing techniques to Australia, or to Asia itself if Australian Governments prove too unworldly in their attitude to wooing much-needed large-scale capital.
The Hamersley Iron Field — this colossal freak of nature — was created some 1,700 million years ago over a period of some 10 million years. In comparison with which, Australians (who are claiming it as their rightful heritage) might do well to remember that the European occupation of this country amounts to something less than 200 years.
When viewed in this perspective by the “United and have-not Nations” are we right in allowing the Canberra socialists to dictate to the world that they will so regulate, ration and restrict this natural phenomenon that the world can neither buy it nor develop it and, what is more significant, neither can we.
In keeping with the above remarks, the much heralded Gorton guidelines policy should be viewed very cautiously because of the added power that it gives to the bureaucracy.
One hopeful aspect of the discovery, proving and development of the Pilbara iron that should appeal to virile people as that it has been a private enterprise effort throughout.
Australian Government played no constructive part in getting it moving.
The huge iron deposits were and still are being brought into production despite Government embargoes, restrictions and blankets on titles, not to mention excessive taxation on risk capital.
W.A.’s mineral reserves are not limited to iron.
We have large quantities of gypsum which could one day be used for fertilisers, e.g. 2,500 million tons in one deposit alone. We have rich deposits of copper and vanadium in the Whim Creek field, as well as manganese, solar salt, bauxite, coal and bentonite, all in vast commercial quantities.
The nickel discoveries in W.A. justify a complete book of history, not an article in a newspaper.
Similarly, the bauxite in the Darling Ranges, allied to the gas at Dongara, is a development of national importance.
Collie coal for use in the agglomerate processes soon to be set up in the Hamersley Iron Region cries out for development. This development requires large capital and a certain amount of ingenuity to overcome the problems inherent in Collie.
At the moment the crucial reserves of ore are frozen in Government hands. Short of a nuclear blast, it is hard to see what will bring them out of deep freeze.
So much for the minerals that W.A. has in abundance. What about the mineral that is in exceedingly short supply in the whole of Australia, namely water?
The Ord River scheme has been kicked from pigeon-hole to pigeon-hole for the past 50 years, during which time scientists have been experimenting with crop after crop without much hope of success (short of the taxpayers’ benevolence by way of subsidy).
However, there is one absolutely certain marketable product of the Ord and Fitzroy Rivers, i.e. water; let me repeat, water.
If the Ord water was diverted to the proposed dam site on the Fitzroy, it would then be only approximately a distance of 480 miles to build a pipeline to either Port Hedland (a town in which not long ago beer on occasions was cheaper than clean drinking water) or the vast Hamersley Iron Region.
Before some dynamo of human inertia propounds from his becushioned office chair some quasi-scientific theory why this is impossible, let him reflect upon the guts of that older generation of West Australians who built a pipeline 350 miles up hill to supply what should really be regarded as one mine at Kalgoorlie, with nothing more than picks, shovels and wheel-barrows to work with.
Are we to believe that in this lotus land of socialism the will to win of the modern generation has become so weakened by welfare handouts that the building of a 480-mile downhill pipeline, aided by the giant machines and earth-moving equipment of today, to feed the Pilbara treasure-house is a task beyond us? Surely not.
A much simpler scheme would be to dam the Fortescue River at Gregory’s Gap and divert the water into the Harding River to a dam site near Woodbrook as a means of supply Cape Lambert with water.
In order to capitalise fully on our material riches W.A. needs.
- To enter the nuclear with its cheap power, clean cities, healthy people and plenty of water — water which nuclear-blasted dams would save from being wasted as it runs uselessly to the sea in flood time.
- Practically unlimited and unrestricted quantities of foreign risk capital, repeat risk capital, i.e. the foreigners take the risks and the Australians get the benefits by having the jobs and industries permanently within their shores. In times of war the mines, railways and production capacity are physically within our land, irrespective of who has a piece of scrip lying in a safe overseas to say that they own it.
- An awakening by Australians to learn the production, engineering, managing and financing techniques, so that they too can learn to take calculated risks and thus play an increasingly important part in the development of our practically unlimited resources. If this is done Australia will in turn become an exporter of capital, which is as Britain was, and USA is today, so that in the long term the fear of foreign capital should not be the bogy that it is held up to be at present.
- A recognition that Australia’s future is dependent entirely on prospectors continually making fresh discoveries. If the essential but dying race of prospectors is to be kept alive they must be allowed to sell their discoveries to capital-supplying corporations tax free. Not only does the present interpretation of the Act need revising, but the Act itself needs to be extended to cover discoveries of all minerals.
- To encourage prospecting, Governments need to withdraw from the field of royalty in favour of the prospector. Royalty is a vicious sectional inflationary tax imposed upon the mining industry exclusively. It is without economic or moral justification.
- The Commonwealth Government needs to conserve the value of the Australian currency in order to keep production costs down in the face of world competition and to encourage saving by the thrifty and responsible people so that they do not suffer in their old age.
It will serve Australia badly if the vast unearned sums of money reaching the Treasury through mineral development are not offset by a lowering of the taxation burden to keep the money in the hands of the producers in order to produce still more goods to offset inflation.
For instance, when Tom Price and Paraburdoo are fully developed Hamersley Iron will be contributing something like $100 million per year to the Federal Treasury.
This money and similar amounts from other producers will be purely inflationary if spent by the Government on non-productive avenues, unless counterbalanced by reduction in taxation to the producers.
- To carry out the above we need peace in our time. The F-111 system of warfare will help in this regard — costly to purchase; one-third of the cost of other systems to operate.
Given the above set of conditions I believe that a Japan-like growth is possible for Western Australia.
Let’s look at one private enterprise scheme which could be developed short of Government interference based on a central giant-size international 300,000 tons capacity port at Cape Lambert, strategically located to serve the bulk of the companies operating in the Hamersley Iron Field, not only for iron but for other minerals in the Pilbara.
This scheme is laid out on the attached sketch.
The plan involves making Cape Lambert the outlet port for Koodiaderie iron, connected by rail through the George River and Fortescue Valleys. Because of its natural advantages Cape Lambert could also take care of the expansion of outputs from Hamersley and Mr Newman.
Transcending all of the above developments in importance is the need for Australia to enter the nuclear age with its cheap, clean power, tremendously cheap explosive forces, giving rise to cheap mining and large scale harbour excavation lending capability to the giant ships of the future to bring Australia ever nearer to the world markets.
In the Pilbara iron situation we now have several ports in existence, with several companies operating, all with their own small power plants spread miles apart. The companies are dynamic, privately owned enterprises, but operating singly not one of them has a need large enough to justify the installation of a nuclear power station.
Jointly they could consume some 200 megawatts in the foreseeable future, this being the minimum justification for a nuclear plant.
It is beyond the imagination and capability of government.
How then is the breakthrough to be made?
The answer could lie in attracting some foreign company with adequate capital and experience in building nuclear power plants to the Pilbara iron field by offering them equity in a large iron ore deposit, whereby they would become basic operators in their own right so that in their own interest they would find it worthwhile to install a nuclear power plant and sell off the surplus power to the other producers in the field.
They could not of course do this under the onerous taxation conditions that exist at present relative to mining installations not lodged on a mining lease.
The place for the nuclear power plant must be on the coast adjacent to sea water at a centrally located point relative to the Hamersley Range iron field.
It could not be installed on one company’s mine site, which it would need to do under the present unrealistic tax set-up to avoid hardship.
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- Hancock's Australia
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- Wake Up Australia: Excerpts Part 1
- Wake Up Australia: Excerpts Part 2
- Lang Hancock's Five Point Plan to Cripple Australia
- Governments Consume Wealth — They Don't Create It
- Up the Workers! Bob Howard's 1979 Workers Party Reflection in Playboy
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- Lang Hancock's Pilbara-Queensland Railway Proposal
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- Lang Hancock 1978 George Negus Interview
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- WA's NCP commits suicide
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- Workers Party Reunion Intro
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- Ron Manners on Lang Hancock
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- Bury Hancock Week
- Ron Manners on the Workers Party
- Lang Hancock on Australia Today
- Hancock and Wright
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- Friends of free enterprise treated to financial tete-a-tete: Lang does the talking but Gina pulls the strings
- Lang Hancock, Stump Jumper
- Lang Hancock: giant of the western iron age
- The Treasury needs a hatchet man
- We Mine to Live
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- 1971 Lang Hancock-Jonathan Aitken interview for Land of Fortune (short)
- Gina Rinehart, Secessionist
- 1982 NYT Lang Hancock profile
- Enter Rio Tinto
- Hamersley and Tom Price
- News in the West
- Positive review of Hancock speech
- Lang Hancock International Press Institute General Assembly speech, Canberra, 1978
- Australia's slide to socialism
- The Great Claim Robbery
- Why WA must go it alone
- Lang Hancock in 1976 on Public Picnics and Human Blights
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- The gospel of WA secession according to Lang Hancock
- Crystal Balls Need Polishing
- Minerals - politicians' playthings?
- John Singleton-Ita Buttrose interview (1977)
- Boston Tea Party 1986 style, hosted by Lang Hancock and Bob Ansett
- Singo says Lang Hancock violated Australia's 11th commandment: Thou Shalt Not Succeed
- Singleton: the White Knight of Ockerdom
- Tactics change by Hancock
- Lang Hancock complains to Margaret Thatcher about Malcolm Fraser
- 'Phony crisis' seen as 'child of politics'
- Lang Hancock on nuclear energy
- Lang Hancock beats the left at their own game on civil liberties
- Lang Hancock's Favourite Books
- 1977 Lang Hancock Canberoo poem
- Hancock's playing very hard to get
- Hancock proposes a free-trade zone
- An Open Letter to Sir Charles Court
- John Singleton 1976 ocker Monday Conference Max Harris debate
- Lang Hancock in 1984 solves Australian politics
- Lang Hancock on the Workers Party, secession and States Rights
- Lang Hancock asks what happened to Australia's rugged individualism?
- Precis of Ludwig Plan for North-West
- Announcement that Lang Hancock will be guest of honour at the Workers Party launch
- Lang Hancock's March 1983 attempt to enlist "former presidents of nations and heads of giant companies" to save Australia
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- Lang Hancock Incites Civil Disobedience
- Hancock sounds call to battle Canberra
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- Over Whitlam's head
- Lang Hancock suggests that newspapers don't give space to politicians unconditionally
- Lang Hancock on saving Australia from socialism
- Secede or sink
- Australia can learn from Thatcher
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- How Lang Hancock would fix the economy
- Lang Hancock: victim of retrospective legislation
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- The Ord River Dam
- Why Lang Hancock invested in Australia's film industry
- Lang Hancock's 1983 letters to The Australian: Lang's precedent for Steve Jobs, renaming the Lucky Country to the Constipated Country, and more
- Australia's biggest newspaper insider on manipulating the media
- 1980 Lang Hancock-Australian Penthouse Interview
- Canberra: bastion of bureaucracy
- Pilbara can be the Ruhr for South-East Asia
- 1982 Lang Hancock-John Harper Nelson Interview
- Australian elections are one of the greatest con games in history
- Our leaders are powerless