WA exploration scheme set to return

The Western Australian Government plans to continue funding the $10 million a year Exploration Incentive Scheme (EIS).

The scheme consists of several programs that promote resource exploration in WA, particularly on greenfields areas and frontier petroleum basins.

It provides refunds, up to 50 per cent, for innovative exploration drilling projects worth more than $150,000.

The EIS has contributed to at least 25 new discoveries, including the Nova nickel project and the Gruyere gold project.

For every $1 million invested towards new projects, the scheme generates $10.3 million in exploration activities and creates 48 jobs over 18 years, according to the WA Government.

WA Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said the EIS would continue following an increase in mineral exploration activities.

“Western Australia’s mineral industry is in its best shape since 2012 – in the first half of 2017, there were 15 mineral initial public offerings on the ASX, four more than 2016,” Johnston said.

“The surge of investor interest in gold and battery metals, lithium, graphite and cobalt, is helping Western Australia to emerge more rapidly from the equity funding doldrums.”

WA’s Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety received a 40 per cent increase in mineral exploration applications during the March and June quarters of 2017, compared to the second half of 2016.

A total of 7584 mining and petroleum applications were received during the 2016-17 financial year, including 2232 programme of work applications.