PERTH (miningweekly.com) – About A$80-million has been set aside in the Queensland Budget to support growth and diversification in the resources sector.
Resources Minister Scott Stewart said the A$79.6-million department budget would help grow and diversify the resources industry into the future with a focus on good solid jobs and projects in Queensland’s emerging new economy minerals sector.
A key investment is A$40-million over four years, and an ongoing A$10-million a year to improve the productivity of Queensland’s land resources and support regional jobs.
Stewart said the budget continued the government’s long-standing commitment to driving exploration, increasingly focussing on the new economy minerals needed for renewable energy and advanced technologies.
“Exploration is the lifeblood of new resources projects and jobs, and its essential we continue to support exploration, including with free access to first-rate geological data,” he said.
“The latest statistics show that exploration is going strong in Queensland, with exploration expenditure up to A$726.5-million in the year to March, up 3.1% on the same period a year ago.”
Stewart said the 2022/23 state Budget will continue to drive exploration and the next generation of good jobs and projects for the resources sector through A$17.5-million in funding over four years for grants to explorers under the Collaborative Exploration Initiative, supercharging the search for new economy minerals, A$10-million in funding over two years for airborne and ground-based geophysical surveys, and A$5-million in funding over two years for research to better define Queensland's new economy minerals potential.
The budget also provides A$5.7-million over three years to add a future industries delivery hub to the existing Resources Centre of Excellence in Mackay, and A$1.6-million to streamline the assessment of applications to mine and explore.
The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (Amec) said on Tuesday that the state Budget had delivered a mixed bag of outcomes for the resources sector, with explorers being supported while coal companies were slugged with a massive increase to royalties.
“At the exploration end, the increased funding of A$17.5-milion over the next four years to the Collaborative Exploration Initiative is very welcome news; continued funding for exploration is critical not only to the industry growing, but to delivering the new economy minerals needed for renewable and battery technologies, essential for decarbonisation,” said CEO Warren Pearce.
“Amec is also pleased that there is a further A$10-million in funding for geophysical science and research and A$5-million for better defining Queensland’s new economy mineral potential.”
“The Queensland government supporting the mining equipment and services (METS) sector is also encouraging to see, METS funding is essential to creating a modern resources industry and to realising value-adding opportunities here at home.”
“We are also pleased see A$5-million to support the Queensland Battery Industry Strategy and would like to see this funding used for the strategy’s implementation to support local and emerging industry’s using Queensland’s new economy minerals.”
A further A$15-million has been allocated to support the National Battery Testing Centre.
“Critical to the success of these measures, will be plans to improve regulatory and assessment outcomes for companies,” said Pearce.
“There was minimal funding allocated to regulatory efficiency improvement and Amec believes that this will require a continued and specific focus from the Queensland government in the coming year.”