The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (The AusIMM) has congratulated the Government on its strong commitment to long term investment in rail and port infrastructure, human capital, and innovation, all of which are critical to a strong resources industry. However, AusIMM CEO Michael Catchpole said the glaring omission from the Budget was the introduction of a Flow-Through Share scheme to stimulate exploration.
The Federal Government’s 2007 election commitment to such a scheme remains the most signifcant piece of unfinished business for Resources Minister Martin Ferguson, according to Catchpole.
“It’s impossible to decouple the fortunes of the exploration sector from that of mining. It’s disappointing to see progress on policies for a competitive mining sector without the recognition of the core importance of exploration,” Catchpole said.
“Junior explorers account for around 80% of all resource companies listed on the ASX, and are responsible for most new discoveries.
“Although a majority actually have a capitalisation of less than $30 million, they are the engine room of the Australian minerals sector.
“In the current climate of a restricted financial market, the higher risk junior exploration sector has been gutted, and exploration activity for many companies has been frozen, with massive job losses across the industry.”
The AusIMM welcomed the announcement of $5.4 billion dollars in higher education funding for a quality, sustainable university sector.
“Intelligent, competent and innovative people are our number one asset. The AusIMM has long argued that a solid investment in higher education in minerals education is critical to ensuring the industry does not continue to suffer from acute skills shortages through the cycles of boom and bust,” Catchpole said.