The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
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Wayne Swan

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

3 December 2007 - 27 June 2013

21 September 2008

NO.100

Foreign Investment Approval: Sinosteel's Interests In Murchison Metals Ltd

Today I approved an application by Sinosteel Corporation to acquire up to 49.9 per cent of Murchison Metals Ltd (Murchison) under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975

Sinosteel had previously sought to acquire up to 100 per cent of Murchison, which was the subject of an Interim Order under the Act.  Sinosteel withdrew that application.

There have been significant developments since the original application was made.

The Western Australian Government recently awarded rights to construct new port facilities at Oakajee to a joint venture between Murchison and Mitsubishi Corporation.  It is also considering proposals to build new railway lines to link the iron ore deposits in the Mid‑West region to the port. 

Sinosteel has recently acquired more than 97 per cent of Midwest Corporation Limited (Midwest) which has iron ore deposits adjacent to Murchison’s.  Midwest and Murchison have previously sought to merge their operations by takeover proposals that did not proceed. 

The Government welcomes foreign investment in Australia and I will continue to ensure that investments are consistent with Australia’s national interest. 

The Mid-West region may ultimately become a significant new source of iron ore exports to the north Asian iron and steel markets.  Murchison is an emerging iron ore miner with deposits in the region.

In approving Sinosteel’s application, I have determined that a shareholding of up to 49.9 per cent in Murchison will maintain diversity of ownership within the Mid‑West region.  The Government considers the development of such potentially significant new resource areas should occur through arrangements that are open to multiple investors.  This approach is consistent with the national interest principles we released in February and with the approach I have outlined previously, including in discussions with my Chinese counterparts.

The Government’s objective is that development of our considerable natural resource endowment occurs in a manner that allows Australia to remain a reliable supplier in the future to all current and potential trading partners. This ensures the maximum development of our resources and a fair return to all of the Australian community.

BRISBANE

21 September 2008