The Queensland Government has launched a new annual exploration program, releasing 826km2 of land for tender for coal, minerals, gas and petroleum exploration over the next 12 months.
The program, launched by natural resources and mines minister Anthony Lynham, includes seven areas spanning across Cloncurry, the Bowen Basin, and near Surat.
The scheme was welcomed by the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) with outgoing CEO Michael Roche saying it would provide more certainty for investors and increase exploration in the state.
“It is good to see the government listening to the sector, following uncertainty surrounding the timing of land releases,” he said.
“This is a major change and provides land holders with the information they need, which should reduce anxiety related to explorers coming onto their land and hopefully smooth the way for good working partnerships between the parties.”
However, Roche added that the success of the land releases relied on the quality of geoscience information and expressed disappointment over the lack of funding for the Geological Survey of Queensland in this year’s state budget.
“For every $1 invested in pre-competitive geoscience, the government can expect to reap a return of up to $20 from the development of mines that bring jobs and royalties to the state,” he said.
Queensland Exploration Council chair Geoff Dickie also approved the scheme, particularly in terms of increasing capital.
“Exploration is the engine room for Queensland’s resources sector and initiatives that help reduce costs and red tape can only benefit all Queenslanders through the development of our natural resources,” he said.
Dickie also supported the government’s recent reduction of up to 50 per cent between 2016 and 2017 on the expenditure that have to commit under their exploration permit.