PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy (Sacome) on Friday welcomed the state government’s announcement of more than A$8-million in funding over the next two years to support the resources sector.
Premier and Treasurer Jay Weatherill announced that some A$6-million would be spent over four years to support a Mining and Petroleum Services Centre of Excellence.
A further A$4-million would be spent over two years to enable the extension of South Australia’s Plan for Accelerating Exploration (Pace) initiative, which Weatherill pointed out had already helped to grow investment in exploration to more than A$300-million a year.
The latest funding would bring the total Pace funding over the budget period to A$28-million.
“A further A$588 000 over two years will fund the Eyre Peninsula Land Use Support Programme, a joint initiative with the Sacome, to foster better relations between farmers and explorers,” the Premier said.
Weatherill said that realising the benefits of the mining boom for all South Australians was one of the seven strategic priorities of the state government.
“This government has a global reputation for supporting the risk takers who with every new drill hole are hopefully bringing us closer to the next major discovery. But we also want to continue to support the innovators, who will define the way we explore, drill and extract resources in the future.”
Sacome said on Friday that the latest round of funding would assist the mining and energy sector in South Australia continue its growth, improve confidence and establish the state as a significant global jurisdiction for research and innovation in the resources sphere.
Sacome CEO Jason Kuchel said that the establishment of a Mining and Petroleum Service Centre of Excellence would add to the state’s portfolio of world class research centers and help to cement South Australia’s reputation in this area.
He further said that Sacome was looking forward to working closely with the state government in regards to the Eyre Peninsula Land Use Support Programme.
“It is absolutely essential to the sector and to the state’s economy that resource companies and land-holders are able to coexist productively. Mining and farming can, together, support each other and grow two of the most important sectors to the state economy.”
Kuchel said that although the state budget reflected forward-thinking, significant changes were required at federal level to boost flagging investment into the sector nationwide.
“Investor sentiment, particularly in regards to mineral exploration, is at its lowest level in more than a decade,” he said.
“Both major federal parties must commit to implementing policies to turn this around, in particular with the introduction of an exploration tax credit similar to the scheme operating in Canada, which is credited with much of that country’s exploration investment attraction.”
“Our federal government needs to recognise the importance of this sector to the economy and take the necessary steps to ensure it continues to prosper.”