South Australia’s mining industry is rising to the challenge of bringing new copper supply to the market, with mines expanding, new ones opening and projects pushing through the pipeline, Energy and Mining Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said at a conference in Adelaide on Tuesday.
In an opening speech at the Copper to the World conference, he said that the state’s mining industry was “energised” with positive developments, amid “immense” opportunities that were opening up for copper in the advancement of renewable energy and electric vehicles.
Touching on some of the developments, Van Holst Pellekaan said that Olympic Dam was expanding, Prominent Hill had extended its mine life to 2030, Carrapateena would enter into production by year-end and that Kalkaroo was considered to be the next mine in the pipeline.
“The great potential we have in South Australia is illustrated by the entry of the Australian arm of NYSE-listed Freeport-McMoRan, partnering with local company Terramin Australia to explore for copper at the Wild Horse prospect near Murray Bridge.”
While established mines are doing their part for increased supply, the state also recognised that more resources had to be discovered. In the state Budget on Tuesday, the government officially launched the A$10-billion Accelerated Discovery Fund (ADF), which Van Holst Pellekaan announced last week.
The funds would be available to explorers prepared to share their findings with other companies and willing to embrace new technologies and practices. The Minister said that the ADF’s contemporary approach differentiated it from other programmes.
Beyond traditional collaborative drill hole funding programmes, the ADF encouraged collaboration on innovative exploration solutions, it addressed the need for knowledge about groundwater resources, provided logistical support improvements for exploration in remote and greenfield areas and encouraged Aboriginal-related employment.
South Australia has a goal of attaining 3% economic growth and Van Host Pellekaan said that the mining industry, particularly copper, would be a cornerstone of achieving this target.