PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Western Australian state government on Wednesday announced A$8.2-million in funding for resource exploration in the state, to help drive economic recovery post Covid-19.
An additional A$5-million will be made available to the Exploration and Incentive Scheme (EIS) and A$3.2-million for a new ion microprobe for Curtin University.
The additional A$5-million will increase funding for the EIS to A$15-million in 2020/21, resulting in an extra A$3-million being available across the next two co-funded drilling rounds.
Premier Mark McGowan said that the investment, which forms part of the state’s Recovery Plan, would boost exploration opportunities and provide next generation geoscience information for Western Australia's resources sector.
"My government is committed to supporting Western Australia's resources industry, and ensuring our state rebounds stronger than ever from the effects of Covid-19.
"The additional A$5-million funding will invigorate the industry and allow more exploration companies to participate in the co-funded drilling programme, creating jobs for Western Australians.
"The flow-on effect from this additional investment in exploration and technology will result in drilling companies deploying more rigs and workers, and lead to new resource discoveries,” McGowan said.
The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (Amec) has welcomed the investment, with CEO Warren Pearce saying the co-funded drilling programme helps exploration companies leverage matching private funding to undertake greenfield drilling, helping to bring additional investment into Western Australia, critical for helping with the recovery of the state post Covid-19.
“This investment demonstrates the commitment of the state government to support the mineral exploration industry, at a time when large parts of the mineral exploration have been hit hard by Covid-19.”
“Combined with the recent announcement of a A$7-million expansion of the Kalgoorlie Core Library, these commitments are a substantial investment into the future development of the mineral exploration industry in Western Australia.
“The exploration industry underpins our resource sector and the state government’s investment in exploration will help our industry to bounce back quicker post-Covid-19 and support the economic recovery of the State and country,” said Pearce.
The Chamber of Minerals and Energy for Western Australia has also welcomed the funding, with CEO Paul Everingham saying explorers across the state were focused on the resumption of their exploration programmes to assist in the economic recovery.
“The Western Australian mining industry recognises it is in a privileged position being able to continue to operate with the support of government, in comparison to our global competitor jurisdictions, which have been heavily impacted by Covid-19, including South America and Africa.
“Ongoing, sustained investment in exploration is critical to the discovery of deposits, and a pipeline of resource projects for the benefit of Western Australians,” Everingham said.