The West Australian Government has handed out more than $4.65 million to companies for drilling and prospecting projects across the state.
Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion announced successful applicants for Round 11 of the Exploration Incentive Scheme (EIS) at the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies convention.
"This is about identifying potential new mines and the jobs and opportunities they can deliver for West Australians," Marmion said.
Now in its seventh year, this drilling program, coordinated by the Department of Mines and Petroleum, has resulted in major discoveries, including the Nova and Camelwood nickel deposits, the Yeneena copper deposits, and the Millennium zinc and Dusk til Dawn gold discoveries.
"I am particularly excited about this funding round because it comes as the first mine to be developed as a result of an EIS discovery is under construction,” Marmion said.
"More than 500 workers are building Sirius Resources's Nova nickel project in the Fraser Range, a newly identified mineral region showing great promise, that typifies the focus of the EIS."
According to the minister, an independently verified economic impact study recently revealed the EIS generated $10.3 million in exploration activity and more than a dozen fulltime jobs over three years, for every $1 million invested.
“But when it resulted in mine development, the study found the long-term contribution to WA's Gross State Product could be up to $23.7 million per $1 million invested," Marmion said.
The Co-funded Drilling Program refunds up to 50 per cent of direct drilling costs, with caps of $150,000 for a multi-hole project, $200,000 for a single deep hole and $30,000 for a prospector's project.
Since the EIS was introduced, co-funding has been offered to more than 550 projects, resulting in more than 350,000 metres of drilling.