PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Nickel miners will need to continue their focus on cutting costs if they are to emerge from the low price environment ready to drive a new wave of exploration and development once prices improve, the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (Amec) says.
Amec national policy manager Graham Short told delegates at the Paydirt Nickel conference that there were substantial challenges facing the nickel industry and that there was a clear need to discover and develop the mines of tomorrow.
“Research work by the University of Western Australia shows Australia has a declining share of global exploration expenditure, discoveries are reducing and getting deeper and harder to find, and the discovery of new deposits in Australia has not kept pace with resource depletion,” he pointed out.
“Alarmingly, about half of Australia’s nonbulk commodities mines will be exhausted in 7 to 18 years.
“Within this environment, the nickel sector will be looking to outcomes of the current research on long-term forecasting of Australian mineral production and revenue out to 2055, to help shape how and when it gets back into the exploration and discovery game with a well-financed vengeance.”
Short said Amec was focused on assisting Australia’s nickel sector find innovative solutions to reducing the costs of doing business.
“This will require maintenance of the status quo on royalty rates and continued support of innovation, research and development tax incentives and diesel fuel credits,” he said.
“We are driving further streamlining of approval timelines, removal of duplications and increased efficiency in all government processes,” he added.
“There is also great opportunity for Amec and the nickel sector to advocate further reduction in red tape, lower shire rates, including exemptions for exploration tenements and exempting exploration licence transfers from stamp duty from all Australian jurisdictions.”