Western Australian explorers will benefit from the $80 million Exploration Incentive Scheme (EIS) to promote exploration in the State and re-position WA as a competitive player within the mining industry.
The five-year Royalties for Regions initiative aims to encourage exploration and increase knowledge of the State’s geology in WA’s greenfield and frontier areas.
The scheme will include a co-funded drilling program and an integrated online system for customised geoscience maps and reports. It will also promote strategic research and work towards building sustainable working relationships with Indigenous communities.
Association of Mining & Exploration Companies (AMEC) has been advocating for State-based incentives in WA to help redress a significant decline in the State’s exploration expenditure over the last decade.
AMEC CEO, Simon Bennison, told MINING DAILY the program will allow Western Australia’s mining industry to catch up with other nation states, which have had similar initiatives in place for some time.
Bennison said the funding will “immediately stimulate” the sector and deliver significant short and long-term benefits to the State as a whole.
“WA is lagging far behind other states,” he said.
Bennison said current approvals processes, including environmental and Indigenous affairs, are a “real mess”, which makes investors nervous and puts WA behind other states.
“Ultimately, the State’s economy suffers and pushes investors to spend their money in more secure assets elsewhere,” he said.
“EIS will help restore investor confidence in the Western Australian resources sector and in turn, secure more local jobs for longer.”
EIS coordinator, Margaret Ellis, told MINING DAILY the program will encourage companies to explore in WA, which will stimulate the private sector and open up work in a wide range of industries.
“The initiative will reduce perceived risks involved with exploring by providing resources and support networks to explorers and miners who are in need,” she said.
“The spin-off will be widely beneficial… Pretty much everyone will benefit, from large mining companies and laboratories, to small businesses and the wider community.”
While exploration programs won’t return revenue immediately, Bennison believes the program will create a pipeline of income that will generate more royalties in the long term.
The program, which was officially launched on Friday 03 April, is currently being finalised, with details regarding funding allocation yet to be finalised. For more information, contact the Department of Mines and Petroleum website.