CANBERRA Aug 23 Australia's Resources and
Energy Minister Martin Ferguson said on Thursday the resources
boom, which had cushioned Australia against the global financial
crisis, was over after top global miner BHP Billiton
halted expansion of a major project.
"The resources boom is over," Ferguson told Australian
radio. "We've done well -- A$270 billion in investment, the envy
of the world. It has got tougher in the last six to twelve
Ferguson's comments came after BHP announced on Wednesday it
would halt the planned $20 billion Olympic Dam copper expansion
in South Australia state.
Fuelled by Chinese-led demand for its coal, iron ore and
other resources, Australia's economy was one of the very few in
the developed world to sail through the global financial crisis
without sliding into recession.
BHP said it had shelved the Olympic Dam expansion as it
reported a 35 percent slide in second-half profit, the biggest
sign of the pain inflicted by the slowdown in China's economic
growth. [ID: nL6E8JML8C]
"The next round was always going to be difficult and I must
say Olympic Dam was always a very, very challenging project --
its sheer size," Ferguson said.
He said he still hoped the project could go ahead.
"Our requirement now is to continue to work together in
partnership, South Australian and Australian governments, with
BHP Billiton to actually get this project in place," he said.