WA explorers urged to apply for drilling funds

WA Mines Minister Norman Moore has called on minerals explorers to apply for more than $5 million of Government funding.

Western Australian Mines Minister Norman Moore has called on the State’s minerals explorers to apply for Government funding totalling more than $5 million.

This is the second round of Government funding that has been made available under a co-funded exploration drilling program.

This program is itself the centrepiece of a five-year $80 million Exploration Incentive Scheme (EIS), which funded through the Royalties for Regions program.

According to the Minister, the first round of funding encouraged drilling in under-explored areas and had subsequently increased knowledge of the State’s geology.

“The first round was very competitive, attracting 168 applicants and resulting in 35 projects successfully gaining support from the $3 million in available funding,” he said.

“Results from some of the co-funded drilling projects have shown early indications of potential commercial success.

Moore said the second round of funding is available for drilling projects planned for 2010-11.

“The exploration drilling program boosts new resource discoveries and helps identify tomorrow’s mines today,” he said.

“It preferentially funds projects that promote new mineral and energy targets and innovative exploration concepts and technologies.

“It also encourages industry to drill in areas that have mineral, petroleum or geothermal potential.”

The program aims to provide up to 50% of direct drilling costs, but has three different caps based on the type of application, the Government said.

For instance, general multi-hole applications will be capped at $150,000, while single deep-hole projects can attract up to $200,000 of funding.

A special category is also available to genuine prospectors, with funding capped at $20,000 per project.

This funding would also support geochemical analyses based on the drilling.

Applications must be lodged with the WA Department of Mines and Petroleum by 19 March.

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