Boweb Basin or Hopetoun? Which mining town is best?

Hi

I spotted this article today regarding Bowen Basin http://www.rebonline.com.au/breaking-news/3080-bowen-basin-enjoys-stellar-price-growth

The article states "Queensland’s Bowen Basin was the best performing council region over the last decade, with an average annual property growth of 43.1 per cent. (how do they calculate the growth rate?)

Latest statistics from RP Data revealed that the mining and resource regions have performed well during the last 10 years, highlighting the strength of the booming mining and resources sector.

RP data’s senior research analyst Cameron Kusher said, house prices in many of the regional communities had grown from an extremely low base of approximately $10,000 just a decade ago."

I wonder how this mining town compares to Ravensthorpe/Hopetoun (nickel) see the story of the closure of the BHP mine here http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/was-new-hot-spot-for-real-estate-20090526-blg6.html

Which states that
"Residential property's annual version of the worst-dressed list is out again, and three WA towns find themselves targeted as places for investors to avoid.

Ravensthorpe/Hopetoun has joined Kalgoorlie on a list of no-go areas, as job losses, mine closures, pollution and poor rental returns combine to ensure the two towns join 11 others nationwide of places for investors to avoid.

They also warned investors from putting their hard-earned into other mining towns such as Port Hedland, Dampier, Karratha and Newman."

"They've got very, very high prices which aren't necessarily sustainable when the resources boom isn't booming,"

My questions are:

How highly leveraged are some of these mining companies?
So if small to moderate changes in mineral prices occur could they scale down or shut down for short periods of time and start up again when the market is better or just sell off assets?

What's your opinion?
Any particular location (mineral) more or less risky than others?
Coal less risky than nickel?

Hang on look whats happened to Griffin Coal Mine in WA?

No bail out for Griffin Coal

"The West Australian Government says it will not bail out Griffin Coal which has racked up debts of about $700 million. The company has been placed into administration, putting at risk the jobs of about 500 workers at Collie."
 
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