NSW government serves up $2 million for junior explorers

The NSW state government will dish out up to $2 million in funds to assist companies looking to undertake exploration drilling programs.

The New Frontiers Cooperative Drilling program is aimed at encouraging exploration in search of mineral deposits in areas of the state not fully explored.

The program will fund up to 50 per cent of direct drilling costs for individual projects, with a cap of $200,000 for approved applicants.

Division of Resources and Energy (DRE) Executive Director of Geosciences, Brad Mullard, announced the 20 successful applicants last week.

Successful drilling programs must be completed and the results, drill samples and reports sent back to DRE. Grants will also be given for drilling program which test new geological concepts.

Payment of funds to the exploration companies for drilling programs will occur once the work is complete. 

Gold, copper, lead zinc, silver, tin, tungsten and platinum deposits will all be targeted.

"Finding more minerals is critical to the long term energy and economic future of NSW. Resource royalties help fund services such as hospitals, schools and roads,” Mullard said.

Impact Minerals will target copper near Broken Hill after winning funding.

Director Mike Jones said the money will provide a boost for explorers doing it tough in the sector.

"This is a very significant award for us," Jones said.

"Especially in the difficult times that most junior exploration companies are going through at the moment.

"We'll now be able to come to Broken Hill and do quite an aggressive drill program within the next couple of months, looking for nickel, copper and platinum group metal."

Mullard said future funding will depend on the success of the first round.

For applicant details download the Map of successful applicants for NSW Cooperative Drilling Program PDF [234 KB PDF].