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South Australian Budget praised for mining support

The South Australian Chamber of Mines & Energy (SACOME) has welcomed a State Budget that provides ongoing funding for established bipartisan state growth initiatives and delivers funding for regulatory efficiencies.

One of the highlights was confirmation of funding for the Accelerated Discovery Initiative over the forward estimates, which provided certainty for the exploration sector.

SACOME chief executive officer Rebecca Knol said exploration incentives were a proven economic multiplier – for every $1 million invested, an additional $23 million in benefits is returned.

“Established in 2004, exploration incentives have contributed to South Australia’s global investment attractiveness for mineral exploration,” she said.

“South Australia is currently the 10th most attractive jurisdiction in the world for mining investment.

“Exploration is critical to ensuring a future pipeline of resource projects in South Australia, and key to increasing the resource sector’s already-significant economic contribution to the State.”

SACOME also hailed funding of $6.4 million over three years for a new Mining Exploration Regulation System to digitise and automate exploration and mining related approvals.

“Over the past four years, SACOME’s member companies have been subject to a blow-out in departmental approval timeframes and an increase in application fees which have not resulted in increased commerciality or quicker turnarounds,” Knol said.

“A circuit breaker is desperately required to address this escalating issue.”

SACOME has previously welcomed bipartisan support for $15 million of State and Commonwealth funding for the Northern Water Supply, which is reinforced in the 2022-23 State Budget.

“This major state economic development initiative would facilitate the delivery of sustainable water to the Gawler Craton – a globally significant mineral province,” Knol said.

“The project also has the potential to align with Department of Defence requirements, meet domestic and industrial water needs in the Upper Spencer Gulf, and support the development of green steel and hydrogen

“SACOME now calls on the Government to maintain project momentum by provisioning $100 million in next year’s State Budget to undertake early works such as geotechnical and environmental investigations.”

Knol also highlighted Critical Minerals Funding of $2.5 million over two years to deliver new geological critical mineral datasets.

“It is long overdue, and an important first step in the development of a much-needed Critical Minerals Strategy for the State,” she said.

“Global demand for critical minerals is increasing and driven by significant growth in markets for complex technologies such as defence, space, and renewables.

“However, the occurrence of critical minerals in South Australia is not uniformly understood.

“There is an urgent need to align opportunities in critical mineral project development, R&D activity, advanced manufacturing, and related upstream processing activity.”

Knol said the resources sector was the engine room of the South Australian economy and continued sector growth depends on funding for projects and initiatives that will remove impediments to growth, resolve structural hurdles and improve regulatory outcomes.

“The 2022-23 Budget provides much needed funding stability for the resources sector,” she said.

Editor of industrial titles and mastheads with Prime Creative Media. Publications include Rail Express and Australian Mining (web content).
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