The New South Wales Government will defer payments for exploration licences and assessment lease applicants by up to six months in a bid to support mining companies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state government is also extending commencement dates for new licences, giving explorers additional time to secure funding.
This is in addition to the state’s co-operative drilling program, which allocated $2.2 million in drilling grants for explorers looking for new deposits of gold, copper and high-tech minerals like cobalt and platinum in regional NSW.
NSW Deputy Premier, John Barilaro said the state was looking to the resources sector to support the economy during this hard time through payment of royalties, creating jobs and business opportunities.
“We are relying on the mining industry to help lead us through to the other side of the COVID-19 crisis,” he said.
Mining in NSW currently provides jobs for around 28,600 people directly and nearly 114,000 people indirectly and is on track to deliver an expected $1.6 billion in royalties to this state this financial year.
The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) welcomed NSW Government to the league of other state governments, including Western Australia and South Australia, in supporting the exploration sector.
“The NSW Government has provided a lifeline to the mineral exploration sector, as without significant relief from government, many small exploration companies will not survive COVID-19,” said AMEC chief executive Warren Pearce.
Western Australia and South Australia Governments have also provided relief for the mineral exploration sector through exploration expenditure exemptions and deferral of rents.
The South Australian Government has cut all exploration and licence fees and offered a 12-month waiver of committed expenditure for all mineral exploration licence holders, while the Western Australia Government has offered expenditure exemption to explorers unable to meet the tenement’s expenditure requirements.
“This announcement of relief is particularly important as mineral exploration, along with bio-tech and other important start-ups, are locked out of the JobKeeper program, leaving the sector without financial assistance,” Pearce said.