Growing demand from China for iron ore, the main component in steel, is the primary force behind an unprecedented resurgence in Australian mining
. Much of that growth is centered on the mineral-rich area of Western Australia known as the Pilbara.
Expectations are high that the demand will continue to grow or remain steady. Even if China's needs tapers off, mining companies expect demand from other growing nations such as India to fill the void.
"Nobody thinks that the boom is a boom and bust," said Gervase Greene, a spokesperson for Rio Tinto, the Pilbara's second-largest mining company.
And even with the rapid pace at which companies are expanding their mines and opening new ones, no one is worried that the region will be tapped out anytime soon.
There is a saying about the Pilbara, explained Gavin Mudd, a civil engineering professor at Monash University in Clayton, Victoria, "that trying to calculate the amount of iron ore in the Pilbara would be like trying to calculate how much air there is."
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