Victoria: The state where our booms started

Victoria is where Australia's mining history began.

The first boom in our industry started during the Victorian gold rush and has continued, in a somewhat cyclical fashion, since then.

The state holds a large chunk of the world's brown coal reserves, around 430 billion tonnes in all.

It has been mining this resource for years to power the state.

However it has in recent years been overshadowed by its fellow states in terms of mining.

New South Wales and Queensland with their massive coalfields and copper gold deposits, Western Australia with a large chunk of the world's iron ore, and South Australia and the Northern Territory with their uranium deposits as well as high copper levels.

Even Tasmania, Australia's greenest state, has been seen as more favourable to mining in recent years than Victoria.

Last year it was ranked the worst for all Australian states by the global Fraser Institute survey in terms of how miners rated the government regulation and ease of doing business.

It came 44th out of 93 mining regions around the world.

Regarding actual mineral potential it performed awfully, ranking 78th globally.

However in the space of a year the state has completely turned around.

In the 2013 Fraser Institute survey it rocketed up the rankings in term of policy potential, ranking ahead of Queensland, and achieving its best ranking in five years and the first time since 2009 that it hasn't slid down the charts.

“Victoria showed significant improvement in both its PPI and rank, moving from 44 in 2011-12 to 24 in 2012-13 due to improvements in political stability (38 per cent) and the legal system (16 per cent)," the study said.

It had a ranking of 24 out of 96 regions, compared to the Northern Territory at 22 and Queensland at 32.

It was also voted as the 8th most politically stable region for mining investment in the world as well.

However it was not all good news, with one managing director of an exploration company saying that the state suffers from a "difficult regulatory regime which in creases exploration expenses".

Part of this, Victorian mines minister Nicholas Kotsiras explained to Australian Mining, is because "Victoria is more densely populated than some states and this poses both challenges and opportunities for the mining industry".

"It means companies must make sure they carry out meaningful community engagement to explain their proposals to stakeholders, and this requirement for community engagement is enshrined in Victoria's mining laws and regulations."

This close proximity to communities has also seen a rise in anti-mining groups and a push back from many in the state, causing the industry to stagnate.

But this is set to change, and see even more growth for the state in line with the Fraser survey, following a turn around in the state's focus.

The Victorian Government has announced it will spend $31.7 million over the next four years on programs designed to build and sustain its mining industry.

Energy and resources minister Nicholas Kotsiras said more than $19 million of the funding will be used to "reinvigorate the State's mining industry by driving a new wave of exploration and reducing barriers to investment".

“Mining has a proud tradition of contributing to the Victorian economy and society and the Coalition Government is determined to ensure it has a vibrant future,” Kotsiras said.

“Our vision is for a strong and prosperous mining industry that delivers jobs and investment in regional Victoria and makes a significant contribution to the economy while respecting the rights of landholders and protecting the environment.”

In addition to this around $4.2 million will be spent on solving mine stability risks at Latrobe Valley coal mines.

Kotsiras said this funding will speed up work on specific projects.

“This $4.2 million will be spent on dealing with the most urgent mine stability issues and building the Coalition Government’s capacity to identify and respond to mine stability risks.”

The announcement was welcomed by the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC).

“The state government is taking a long-term approach to its budget and policy development which is welcomed and encouraged by AMEC," the group's CEO Simon Bennison stated.

“This announcement highlights that the state government is taking the current need for greenfields exploration very seriously. 

“AMEC looks forward to reviewing the Government’s response to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Greenfield’s Exploration and Mineral Development in Victoria, which is due to be released shortly." 



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