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Australia’s Gillard Says Mining Is Economy’s ‘Strong Right Arm’

Australia’s mining industry is the “strong right arm” of the economy, supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said.

“Few nations turn natural resources into national wealth as well as Australia does,” Gillard told a mining industry gathering in Canberra, according to an e-mailed copy of her speech. “In reality, so many countries manage their mineral wealth badly that in the developing world they call it ‘the resource curse’ and in the advanced world they call it ‘the Dutch disease.’”

Australia’s Treasury predicts resource industries will expand at an annual pace of 9 percent, compared with 2 percent for the rest of the economy over the next two years. Energy and mining companies will invest a record A$120 billion in the fiscal year starting July 1, a 150 percent increase from two years earlier, as part of a A$450 billion resource investment pipeline, the budget, released earlier this month, showed.

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