QLD greenfield exploration a strong growth indicator: QRC

Queensland Resources Council (QRC) chief executive Ian Macfarlane has cited the state’s significant greenfield exploration investment as an “important indicator of confidence in the resources sector”.

Recent findings from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) point to a 39 per cent year-over-year (YoY) rise in greenfield exploration in the March 2018 quarter.

“When greenfield exploration is successful, it can generate new projects, new industries and the potential to create hundreds of millions of dollar of royalties for the life of the project,” said Macfarlane.

“These figures again demonstrate the diversification story in Queensland’s resources with copper exploration surging 150 per cent, base metals 139 per cent, gold 37 per cent and coal up 65 percent all underpinned by a sustained lift in prices.”

Queensland Exploration Council chair Brad John cited copper as a particularly valuable resource for the further development of Queensland’s resources sector.

“The increasing level of copper exploration reflects the resource as a key ingredient for future technologies such as electric vehicles and renewable energy,” he said.

Last September, the Australian Government set out plans to revive greenfield exploration by replacing the previous Exploration Development Incentive (EDI), which was scrapped this May, with the $100 million-Junior Mineral Exploration Tax Credit (JMETC).

According to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, the JMETC would drive economic activity by allowing tax losses arising from greenfield exploration to be distributed as credit to Australian resident shareholders.

Last week saw three major deals in the Queensland resources sector: the $100 million sale of the Gregory Crinum mine, South32 acquired a $US133 million ($177 million) stake in Eagle Downs, and Santos approved a $400 million spend on the Arcadia gas project in the Bowen Basin.

In total, it’s around a $700 million investment and 600 jobs, said Macfarlane.

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