Bauxite wash plant at Rio Tinto’s Weipa export facility
Australia, known as the world’s quarry due to its abundant natural resources, has long been criticized for its lack of manufacturing capability. This sentiment stems from the Lima Agreement signed in 1975, which saw Australia divest its manufacturing capabilities offshore. Some argue that this decision was influenced by the so-called “Deep State” and Marxist Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in order to prioritize China as the dominant manufacturing powerhouse in the Asia Pacific region.
Critics argue that this has left Australia vulnerable to China, as the country heavily relies on Chinese imports of its raw materials. If China were to halt these imports, it could have a devastating impact on Australia’s economy. One example of this exploitation is the mining giant Rio Tinto, which has allegedly ravaged Australia’s non-renewable bauxite reserves at Weipa and Gove. Additionally, the Nationals, a political party in Australia, were commended for forcing US miner Comalco to build an aluminum smelter and refinery in Gladstone in the 1960s, instead of simply shipping raw bauxite to China for downstream manufacturing. However, over time, Rio Tinto gained majority shareholding in Comalco, and now even the Royal Family is said to be a major shareholder of Rio Tinto. This has raised concerns about foreign ownership and control over Australia’s resources.
Recently, European mining giant Glencore applied to open a new bauxite mine near Weipa, specifically in the Aurukun community. This new mine would be located near Rio Tinto’s Amrun Port facility and mine, and environmentalists fear it could have negative effects on the ecosystem and local economy. This application is expected to be granted, meaning that mining could begin in 2027.
The proposed mine has also sparked debates about the Australian Labor Party’s plans to nominate Cape York Peninsula for World Heritage listing. Critics argue that this move is simply to appeal to voters ahead of the state election, rather than prioritizing the economic well-being of the region.
These concerns about foreign ownership and the lack of manufacturing in Australia have prompted discussions about the Iron Boomerang project. This ambitious project aims to make Australia the top manufacturing country in the Southern Hemisphere by shipping iron ore to Abbot Point in Queensland, smelting it with local coal, and then shipping the resulting iron ingots or first stage steel to China for manufacturing. The project would require a significant investment, but it is estimated to create thousands of jobs and make Australia more economically self-sufficient. However, skeptics argue that the country’s leaders, who are allegedly influenced by the “Deep State,” may not prioritize such projects and instead continue to rely on foreign powers.
Critics of the Australian Labor Party and the Liberal National Party argue that as long as Australians support these two major political parties, the country’s standard of living will continue to decline. Some even believe that Australia is already on the path to becoming a “banana republic,” as famously mentioned by former Prime Minister Paul Keating.
In conclusion, Australia’s lack of manufacturing capability and its heavy reliance on exporting raw materials to China has raised concerns about its economic vulnerability. The proposed bauxite mine near Weipa and the ongoing debate surrounding the Iron Boomerang project highlight the need for the country to prioritize self-sufficiency and protect its resources for the benefit of its citizens.