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Qld explorers spending big - QEC

10th December 2020

     

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PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Queensland Exploration Council’s (QEC’s) members invested more than A$640-million on exploration in 2019/20, across coal, petroleum, gold and copper deposits in Queensland.

In its tenth annual exploration scorecard, the QEC noted that more than half of its members were expecting to increase or maintain exploration activity or expenditure in Queensland over the next 12 months.

QEC chairperson Kim Wainwright said the figures reveal growing industry optimism in the state’s exploration industry.

“Prices for base and precious metals have recovered well since the onset of Covid in March, gold is trading at historically high prices despite a mid-year price slide and copper has remained stable throughout the pandemic,” Wainwright said.

“Coal and gas exploration spending grew by 61% and 22%, respectively, in 2019/20, totalling almost A$460-million, despite price falls in both commodities, so there is definitely a feeling of growth and optimism in the sector.

“More than A$181-million was also invested in exploration for base metals like copper, zinc and lead and on prospecting for critical minerals such as cobalt, gold, vanadium, lithium and rare earth minerals, some of which are used in batteries and other new technologies and defence systems.

Wainwright said the A$27-million in state government funding committed to projects such as the Collaborative Exploration Initiative had stimulated innovation and increased activity in locations such as north Queensland and the Wide Bay area. 

“Explorers have a golden opportunity to promote Queensland as a safe haven for exploration and mining because of its resource-rich and relatively Covid-safe status,” she said.

Meanwhile, for the second year in a row, explorers have given the government a big tick for the quality of its engagement with industry.

Wainwright said while there were some areas in which the QEC would like to see improvements, such as more streamlined application processes and the resolution of some key land access issues, the scorecard process showed members had experienced no major regulatory barriers to growth over the past 12 months.

“This bodes well for working with the government over the next 12 months to progressively implement the Resources Industry Development Plan,” she said.

She said ongoing mineral exploration is critical to Queensland’s future prosperity.

“With global demand for critical minerals set to increase, Queensland has a unique opportunity to establish itself as a key region for exploration and investment.

“Exploration is all too often forgotten, but without it there would be no mines and all the associated long-term benefits that flow from the resources industry to the state economy and the community.

“We need to keep exploring to make sure the resources industry remains buoyant and well-financed and can sustain an ongoing pipeline of opportunities in Queensland from which we all benefit.”

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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