Cheaper commodities won’t kill off Australia’s mining boom

Australian Resources Minister Martin Ferguson says the onset of an era of low commodities prices does not spell the end of the country’s China-backed mining boom.

Speaking at the Citi Australian and Asian G10 Rates Conference on Wednesday Ferguson said “Australia’s resources industry has many years of opportunities to come” and that “there are few places better prepared for the Asian century than Australia.”

Ferguson said that declines in commodities prices, which have severely hampered Australia’s leading mining concerns, should be viewed in a positive light and provide an opportunity for miners to enhance competitiveness and efficiency.

“Record commodity prices, I think, allowed us to become fat and lazy in terms of not managing our projects as best we could.”

Ferguson’s upbeat stance in the face of declining prices and dwindling Chinese demand stand in stark contrast to his remarks only several months ago, when he declared that the mining boom had reached its end during a radio interview.

Australia is one of few OECD nations which has prospered on the back of China’s ascent.The rise of China’s economy ushered in a mining boom for the antipodean Anglosphere nation, which enabled it to weather the Global Financial Crisis with its economic vigor intact, as well as pushed the Aussie dollar to unprecedented heights.

Iron ore prices have been sliding for most of this year, hurting Australia.