The South Australian Government will inject $10 million into the exploration of untapped mineral resources, at a time when the state’s exploration investment figures are the lowest in a decade.
This investment will be delivered through the Accelerated Discovery Fund (ADF) as part of the State Budget 2019–20, and promote exploration and innovative technologies.
The South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy (SACOME) claims it has been consistently lobbying to bring SA back to relative competitiveness with other states.
Previous exploration incentive programs were responsible for catalysing an extra $700 million in mineral exploration investment between 2002 and 2014 in SA.
Those programs have contributed to the discovery of OZ Minerals’ $916 million Carrapateena copper-gold body in the Gawler Craton and an increase in state mining revenue of $2.4 billion over that time, according to SACOME.
The ADF will back exploration drilling, promotion of exploration and innovative technologies in geophysical programs and logistical support associated with testing exploration targets in remote greenfields or new frontier regions.
“Exploration investment is critical to the discovery of new deposits and ensuring a continuing pipeline of resource projects. This new scheme is a timely and welcome solution to our sector’s concerns in this area and is something we have been calling for since the previous scheme was removed from the budget,” SACOME chief executive Rebecca Knol said.
“Opening new mines with significant deposits of copper, gold, and other strategic minerals such as uranium and cobalt will deliver new investment, jobs and increased royalties to finance South Australia’s health, education and transport systems,” SA Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan added.
“Mining currently accounts for 35 per cent of South Australia’s exports of traded goods and accelerating new mines has the potential to deliver a major stream of revenue to the State Budget.”
Industry body Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) welcomes the investment, saying that exploration activity is “fundamental” to the future success of the Australian mining industry.
The investment will reduce the substantial financial risk that resource companies take on when exploring greenfield sites.