The Victorian minerals sector has set a new record for exploration expenditure, according to the latest quarterly results from the Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The March quarter of 2021 saw $51.5 million spent on minerals exploration across Victoria, backing up a strong 2020.
After the December quarter set its own record, Victorian exploration expenditure totalled $150 million last year.
Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) executive director James Sorahan said the records were important to continue Victorian job creation.
“Minerals projects play an important role in regional development in Victoria. Exploration and mining create high-paying jobs and supports a supply chain of innovative small and medium-sized businesses,” Sorohan said.
“Victoria’s gold mining sector employs regional Victorians from geologists and geophysicists to chemists and field assistants.”
Sorohan said key gold exploration hubs included Bendigo, Ballarat and Stawell, while a range of other projects continued to strengthen the state’s portfolio of critical minerals projects.
“Victoria’s mineral sands projects, including Kalbar Resources’ Fingerboards HMS Project near Bairnsdale, Donald Mineral Sands’ project near Minyip, VHM Limited’s project near Swan Hill and WIM Resources’ Avonbank Project near Horsham, have the potential to develop into a global hub for mineral sands (zircon and titanium) and rare earths,” Sorohan said.
The March record comes as the Victorian Government provided $35.7 million for the state’s resources sector, as part of its 2021/22 Budget.
The future funding was provided with the intention to ramp up exploration approvals and attract further investment to the state.
In May, Minister for Resources Jaclyn Symes said the resources sector is vital to the state’s economic recovery.
“We’re making sure that efficient and responsible regulation of the sector goes hand in hand with the development of future sites – including the local community in decision making and leaving a positive legacy,” Symes said.