WA drilling program draws in explorers

The West Australian Government’s latest drilling program has attracted 60 applications from companies eager to explore.

WA mines and petroleum minister Norman Moore explained that this program encourages exploration in greenfields and underexplored areas.

“Gold and base metals exploration targets featured in many of the applications, with iron ore, nickel and the platinum group elements the next most popular commodities.

“The 60 applications, which sought a total of $5.75 million in co-funding from the State Government, were competing for an available pool of $4 million,” he said.

Moore went on to say that the drilling program is the main part of the $80 million Exploration Incentive Scheme (EIS), which is funded by the Royalties for Regions program and “helps to ensure the security of WA’s resources sector by helping explorers find the mines of tomorrow today.”

It works by refunding up to half of direct drilling costs to successful application, with the refunds capped at $30 000 for prospectors and $150 000 for general projects.

However this amount can increase to $200 000 for a single, deep hole project.

The successful applicants in the latest round will undergo an exhaustive evaluation of the criteria addressed in the online application system.

This evaluation is undertaken by an independent panel of exploration geologists with significant industry experience.

To date, the program has supported a number of new discoveries over the past two years, including iron ore, uranium and copper as well as new gold discoveries near Warburton and within the Tropicana belt.

Another round of application will be announced in the second half of the year around August and September for drilling projects carried out between January and December 2012.

Image: Drilling in the Tropicana belt.

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