Funding for new mining projects in Australia has dried up and what money companies do have is being spent overseas, according to the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies.
Speaking at a Perth conference, AMEC chief Simon Bennison said the bulk of mining funding was now being directed away from Australia towards Africa, Mongolia, and South America.
He also said 56 per cent of funds raised by Australian companies on the ASX were being poured into projects overseas, with the remaining 44 per cent reserved for local developments.
"Clearly, more ASX raised funds are heading overseas than being spent in Australia," he said.
Bennison said investment in greenfields exploration in Australia was also declining.
"The amount of drilling on new deposits has flat lined in recent years and the greenfields spend is now half of that of brownfields exploration," he said.
"It begs the question — where are Australia's mines of tomorrow to come from?"
Bennison said AMEC was concerned that junior companies were picking up the slack of resources giants, with the share of greenfields exploration in Australia rising from 36 per cent to 53 per cent.
Marking the mining tax and carbon tax as contributing to market uncertainty, Bennison called on government to work harder to make Australia a more attractive place to do business.
"There needs to be an exploration tax credit scheme to make Australia internationally competitive and to streamline regulatory approvals — and of course AMEC favours the removal of the carbon tax and MRRT," he said.