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Mr W.W. Stweetland to conduct inquiry into economic viability of mining and marketing of Christmas Island Phosphate rock

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Media Release From the Office of John McLeay MINISTER FOR ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence


IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, December 20, 1979

The Minister for Administrative Services, Mr McLeay, and the

Minister for Home Affairs, Mr Ellicott, announced today that

the Inquiry into the Economic Viability of Mining and Marketing

Christmas Island Phosphate rock would be conducted by .

Mr W.W. Sweetland. .

Mr Sweetland retired in 1978 from where he was Executive

General Manager, Minerals from 1972-78 and previously General

Manager, Shipping and General Manager, Engineering.

The Ministers said that the Inquiry, which they had first

announced on 10 December, would have the powers of a Royal

Commission. It had been asked to report by 15 February, 1980.

The terms of reference for the Inquiry are as follows.


To inquire into the economic viability of the mining and -

marketing of Christmas Island phosphate rock having regard

to present and prospective demand for Christmas Island

phosphate, rock and to give particular attention to the following

matters: .

. (a) mining life and output options for Christmas Island;

(b)■ present and prospective landed costs of Christmas.Island

phosphate rock and phosphate rock from competing sources;

. ,./2

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(c) the implications for the landed costs of Christmas

Island phosphate rock of the present wage levels

for' regionally engaged workers on Christmas Island

"' / and particular wage levels for such workers up

to and including parity with the Australian

· minimum Federal weekly wage, together with

' associated industrial relations factors; and

(d) the implications for phosphatic fertiliser

manufacturers and consumers of such fertiliser

of changes in the relative landed costs of ■

phosphate rock from Christmas Island and from

competing sources. . . .

The inquiry will take into account to the extent necessary the

operations on Christmas Island and in Australia of the Christmas

Island Phosphate Commission and the British Phosphate Commissioners

but only in so far as the latter are managing agents for the

Christmas Island Phosphate Commission.

The inquiry shall not extend to a report on particular levels of

wages that should be paid to workers on Christmas Island.