50 year lease offer to Phosphate Resources Ltd on Christmas Island
16 December 2015
The Australian Government will provide Phosphate Resources Ltd (PRL) with four sites on Christmas Island for industrial and commercial purposes.
During a visit to Christmas Island, Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government Paul Fletcher said the provision of land leases would provide long-term certainty to PRL and help underpin the Christmas Island economy.
“The 50 year land leases offered to PRL come with an option for an extension of 49 years,” Mr Fletcher said.
“I have also granted a phosphate exploration licence to PRL to enable further investigations of phosphate stocks on Christmas Island, and potentially enabling the life of mining operations to be extended.
“The land lease offer is a significant development for Christmas Island. It provides long-term certainty to PRL, supports commercial endeavours and enables further investment on the island.”
Mr Fletcher said that visiting the mine and speaking with workers and management at the mine had given him a better understanding of the value of the phosphate mine to the local economy.
“The proposed leasing arrangements will extend the period of PRL's use of these sites and expand the purpose to non-mining related industrial and commercial uses,” Mr Fletcher said.
“PRL is investing in Christmas Island through recent upgrades to the Drumsite workshops as part of its phosphate mining lease. PRL is one of the major employers on Christmas Island, with a number of traineeships, apprenticeships and work experience programs aimed at providing Christmas Island locals with the skills required to work at the mine.
“PRL employs 150 permanent employees and provides full time employment for a further 50 people working with subsidiaries and other maintenance contractors.
“I was pleased to learn about PRL's research collaboration with Murdoch University for the agricultural rehabilitation of former mine sites. Increasing agricultural production on Christmas Island is important in helping to reduce the island's dependence on imported products.”
Phosphate mining has been a major driver of economic activity on Christmas Island since the early 1890's. A conservation levy is collected from PRL by the Australian Government to rehabilitate old mine sites.