Victoria gives a leg up to explorers

In an effort to get a piece of the mining action, Victoria is making it easier for explorers to establish themselves in the state.

While the mining boom has slightly come off the boiler, the Victorian Parliament's Economic Development and Infrastructure Committee (EDIC) is tabling its report into greenfields mineral exploration in Victoria, Business Spectator reported.

The report examines why the state has fallen behind in terms of attracting investment to explore and develop mineral resources in the region.

Victoria’s share of national mineral exploration expenditure has fallen to about two per cent. Committee chairman Neale Burgess said the state is missing out on an opportunity.

"While the resources sector is again creating employment and building wealth for communities throughout Australia and around the world, Victorians have been missing out," Burgess said.

The research found that regulation of Victoria’s exploration and mining activities is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate, and needs to be simplified.

In an effort to reduce time and costs around approvals processes, the committee has recommended the Victorian Government establish a one-stop-shop approach to regulation of the exploration and mining sectors.

"Mineral exploration is critically important to Victoria, as without exploration, Victoria will be unable to reap the investment, employment and other benefits that mining can bring to the community," Burgess said.

He said increasing mineral exploration in the state will result in new mining projects which will boost Victoria’s economy, creating new opportunities in region Victoria.

Victoria is where Australia’s mining history began, with the industry’s first boom, the gold rush kicking off in the Victorian gold fields.

The state holds a large chunk of the world's brown coal reserves, around 430 billion tonnes in all.

It has been mining this resource for years to power the state.

However it has in recent years been overshadowed by its fellow states in terms of mining.

New South Wales and Queensland with their massive coalfields and copper gold deposits, Western Australia with a large chunk of the world's iron ore, and South Australia and the Northern Territory with their uranium deposits as well as high copper levels.

Even Tasmania, Australia's greenest state, has been seen as more favourable to mining in recent years than Victoria.

Last year it was ranked the worst for all Australian states by the global Fraser Institute survey in terms of how miners rated the government regulation and ease of doing business.

It came 44th out of 93 mining regions around the world.

In the 2013 Fraser Institute survey it rocketed up the rankings in term of policy potential, ranking ahead of Queensland, and achieving its best ranking in five years and the first time since 2009 that it hasn't slid down the charts.

“Victoria showed significant improvement in both its PPI and rank, moving from 44 in 2011-12 to 24 in 2012-13 due to improvements in political stability (38 per cent) and the legal system (16 per cent)," the study said.

It had a ranking of 24 out of 96 regions, compared to the Northern Territory at 22 and Queensland at 32.

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