Stolen Resources and Fake Qualifications: Africa or Australia?

Friday, 7 February, 2014

At the same time a minister is ranting about foreign corporations stealing his country’s natural resources, the safety of miners has been put at risk after it emerged that fake qualifications were being given to workers. If you assumed that these headlines were taken from Africa’s press, we’d understand, but you’d be wrong. Both stories have emerged from Australia.

Australia’s resource boom has been key to its economic success over the past decade, supplying China with minerals and energy and filling its coffers in doing so. Yet bizarrely, a federal MP called Clive Palmer - with much fervour - has claimed Australian resources are ‘being raped and disrespected by foreign owned entities’. Before you know it he’ll be demanding the Australian national anthem be changed ‘Der Internationale’.

Palmer picked on the Chnese as being especially culpable, saying “they still want to take our resources back to China without paying for them… In our opinion this is tantamount to stealing, and most Australians would be in agreement.” 

According to Mining Australia, the battle has a history, and the recent outburst follows step with a bitter past. Originally Plamer and Chinese state company CITIC Pacific fought over royalties, with Palmer saying at the time “we have a standard right-to-mine agreement, In the agreement it says they pay a royalty when ore is taken. We would say that word ‘taken’ means when you mine it -- they would say it means when you take it from Australia.”

Now a tussle has erupted over who owns the port from which CITIC ship the ore to China, with Palmers company, Minerology, staking its claim as owners and operators.

In the meantime, an organization which awards mining qualifications has been placed under investigation for fraud and forgery, leaving many mine workers potentially unqualified; a situation which has raised concerns about their safety in particular.

The director of the accused North Australia Career and Training Services, Jennifer Deasy has been charged, with Detective Nick Williams saying "It's quite possible she has been conducting training for a period of over two years in which the qualifications may not be recognised”.