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Western Australia: Hamersley Iron and State Government expect Marandoo iron ore project to proceed

JOHN LOGAN: After months of delay, the $500 million Marandoo iron ore project in Western Australia is now expected to proceed. Graham Powell reports the project, near Tom Price, should create thousands of jobs.

GRAHAM POWELL: The Marandoo mine has been delayed for months over concerns by Aborigines that mining could disturb sacred sites. However, the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Judyth Watson, says a recently completed second survey found no new sites of cultural significance, and mining would not have an adverse impact on existing sites. Dr Watson says the traditional owners of the land, the Karajini Aborigines, believe the project should go ahead, subject to discussions with the Hamersley Iron company about sites close to the proposed mine and employment for their people. Dr Watson says that, subject to an environmental review, the project could begin next month.

JOHN LOGAN: Dr Watson told Graham Powell the project will be of enormous benefit to many people.

JUDYTH WATSON: Well, there's a number of jobs, some hundreds of jobs, and of course, the benefits from the profits of the iron ore run into millions and millions of dollars.

GRAHAM POWELL: So just how quickly could it get off the ground?

JUDYTH WATSON: With that proviso about the environmental project, within a few short weeks.

JOHN LOGAN: Hamersley Iron's Tony Finucane (?) is also confident the project will proceed without delay.

TONY FINUCANE: I'm very confident that work will now proceed very quickly and we can get this project under way. It is a project that this country desperately needs and we need to get on with the expenditure and the employment of people.