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Resources Minister declares mining boom over

The Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson, has declared the end of the mining boom, following the shelving of BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam expansion in South Australia.

“You've got to understand, the resources boom is over,” Mr Ferguson told ABC radio this morning.

“We've done well - $270 billion in investment, the envy of the world. It has got tougher in the last six to 12 months.”

The comments are a prediction from a Federal Minister in the know about Australia’s multi-billion dollar resources industry.

In the past Mr Ferguson has warned that Australia could not solely rely on high commodity prices to drive the economy, especially as China’s growth showed signs of stalling.

“I've been saying for some time that we've done well,” Mr Ferguson said today.

“The next pipeline is going to be more difficult.”

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The richest resources boom in history has boosted the nation's income, filled the Government's coffers and helped Australia achieve a record 21 years without recession.

But with the coal industry already shedding jobs, investment analysts say the peak has come and gone.

BHP shelves plans for $30bn expansion

BHP Billiton's announcement it is shelving plans to expand its Olympic Dam mining operations in South Australia is more evidence the resources boom has peaked.

Some leading analysts fear the cycle will shift from boom to bust, as China's economy grinds down and the fallout for Australia's economy and the federal budget could be severe.

BHP Billiton's profit slump, announced on Wednesday, is a sign of the times, down a massive 35 per cent.

The company's chief financial officer, Graham Kerr, blamed "weaker commodity prices and cost pressures [which] have presented a challenge for the industry".

The shelving of the Olympic Dam mine expansion is a major blow to the South Australian economy.

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