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Australia to spend A$566m on mapping out resource deposits

8th May 2024

By: Mariaan Webb

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

     

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Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has announced an investment of A$566-million over the next decade to bolster geoscientific research across the nation.

The Geoscience Australia-led initiative, welcomed by industry bodies such as the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) and the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (Amec), aims to unlock the vast potential of Australia’s untapped geological resources.

At the heart of the initiative is an ambition to create a comprehensive map of Australia’s subsurface and seabed resources. With more than 80% of the continent remaining underexplored, particularly at greater depths, the mapping project promised to unveil new opportunities for minerals development, particularly in remote and underexplored areas.  

Enabling public access to a rich set of nationally consistent pre-competitive data would offer a detailed investment prospectus for mining companies to take Australia seriously as an investment destination, said MCA CEO Tania Constable.

The availability of enriched pre-competitive data allows for better planning and sequencing of future private investments in the minerals mining and processing industry and the infrastructure needed to support their development. 

Further, the announcement to map potential sites for clean hydrogen and carbon capture and storage underscored the pivotal role of advanced geoscience in these decarbonisation technologies.  

“There is no nation on earth better placed than Australia to achieve our goal of moving toward a clean energy future,” said Albanese in a statement.

Amec CEO Warren Pearce said small exploration companies relied on the scientific data gathered by Geoscience Australia’s Exploring for the Future programme to target their exploration programmes, improving discovery rates, and leading to the development of new mines.

“This is the type of information that sets Australia apart from other nations, in continuing to attract exploration and mining investment,” he said.

“The first two iterations of this programme have already led to significant new discoveries, that are now progressing toward major mine developments,” added Pearce.

Amec has worked closely with Resources Minister Madeleine King and CEO of Geoscience Australia Dr James Johnson on the initiative.

“Amec and our members have been strong supporters of the Exploring for the Future programme since its inception, as has all of the mining and exploration industry. Because we all know how important these types of programme are to improving our mineral discovery rates, and stocking a pipeline of new mining projects that will deliver massive economic benefits for Australia for many decades to come,” said Pearce.

Constable stated that funding not only reflected previous recommendations from the MCA, which advocated for expanded and permanent support for Geoscience Australia, but also reinforced the essential role that pre-competitive geoscience data played in de-risking exploration and supporting investment planning. 

Such data, she said, was crucial for maximising the economic returns from Australia’s rich mineral endowments. Precompetitive geoscience data and analysis supported 3.5% of Australia’s gross domestic product in 2021, equating to about A$76-billion. 

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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