With the exception of gold projects, large mineral deposits require bulk product transport infrastructure to get the product to market. On average they say it takes 30 years from discovery to development for a large mineral deposit. Most of this time is taken up building certainty and gaining the approvals required in order to build enough confidence to invest the capital. At any one time there are lots of projects that are waiting for certainty around the infrastructure and in many cases there are whole mineral regions that remain undeveloped.
If the government really wants to invest in infrastructure that will create economic growth, then there is no better place to start than minerals transport infrastructure. Transport infrastructure investment would bring new mines on-line and would make a commercial return, unlike many government “investments”. Assets could be sold off to the private sector as they would provide an attractive long term return for private investors once they are operating. The government is in a unique position to be able to build infrastructure projects quickly where the private sector cannot. The private sector has none of the powers regarding resumption of land and approvals.
The value that new mines bring to the community is huge. The value of royalties and taxes would alone be enough to justify the investment and the economic multiplier to the general economy provides broad employment and business opportunities. The enabler really is quite simple, build transport infrastructure.