The South Australian Government will invest $14.1 million in the next four years to ensure the State realises the full potential of the mineral exploration boom.
Budget funding of an additional $11 million will strengthen the ability of the Minerals and Energy Resources Division of Primary Industries and Resources S.A. to manage the pipeline of new mines seeking assessment and approval.
According to the State government, a further $3.1 million allocation to the division’s Petroleum and Geothermal Group will also help speed up the assessment process for applications for geothermal exploration leases from companies seeking to tap the enormous potential for power generation from “hot rock” technology.
Treasurer Kevin Foley says the new funding will ensure South Australia realises the potential presented by the State’s new mineral discoveries.
“The increased funding in the next four years will streamline PIRSA’s ability to translate the surge in mineral exploration into a large number of new mining developments across the State.”
Expenditure on mineral exploration grew to $331.3 million in the 12 months to 31 December 2007, more than triple the $100 million target for 2007 set by South Australia’s State Strategic Plan.
South Australia now ranks second only to Western Australia in terms of expenditure on mineral exploration, leapfrogging Queensland.
The surge in expenditure highlights the overwhelming success of the State Government’s Plan for Accelerating Exploration — PACE — initiative launched in July 2004.
Foley said encouraging such an unprecedented increase in expenditure on exploration in South Australia is only the first wave of the quantum change that is taking place in the State’s mining sector.
“The second wave of change is the pipeline of development proposals and new mines that follow from this successful investment in mineral exploration,” he said.
“The Minerals and Energy Resources Division of PIRSA will need to increase in size to handle the escalation in workloads associated with this second wave of development proposals.”
According to Foley, new measures funded by the additional $11 million allocation to the Minerals and Energy Resources Division will provide the regulatory skills, departmental capacity and business confidence needed to ensure exploration and mining developments can be fully realised.
An additional $3.1 million in funding allocated to PIRSA’s Petroleum and Geothermal Group will enable PIRSA to speed up the assessment process for applications for geothermal exploration leases.
This boost in funding spread across four years until 2011-2012 will allow the Petroleum and Geothermal Group to retain and recruit additional expert staff to handle the surge in applications for geothermal projects in South Australia.
South Australia Government
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