Industry welcomes $100m exploration initiative

Posted May 3, 2016

Geologist rock pick and compass on a geographical map. (For story on not enough mineral exploration). Photo by: Stewart McLean

The Turnbull Government has made a critical investment in Australia’s future prosperity with the provision of additional resources for Geoscience Australia, according to the Minerals Council of Australia.

Chief executive Brendan Pearson (pictured below) said the Budget package included a new $100 million initiative - Exploring for the Future - over four years in support of the next wave of minerals exploration.

“Australia’s world-class federal and state geological survey agencies have a record of delivering a strong return on investment in pre-competitive scientific data,” Mr Pearson said.

Minerals Council of Australia - Tuesday, 25 February 2014 - 10.22AM

“According to some estimates, the rate of return for every dollar invested in pre-competitive programs has a multiplier for national income of more than 20 times.

“Moreover, Australia ranks second in the world at converting exploration into minerals discoveries.  Australia accounts for about 9 per cent of global exploration investment but accounts for 18 per cent of minerals discoveries.”

 

Mr Pearson said that 80 per cent of the continent, covered by rocks and sediment, remained largely unexplored.

“The Government’s investment will allow Geoscience Australia to undertake geological mapping of mineral deposits both near the surface and to depths down hundreds of metres,” he said.

“This will propel a step-change in knowledge and technology, which will facilitate exploration by private companies in areas that have historically been difficult to explore.”

Association of Mining & Exploration Companies (AMEC) national policy manager Graham Short (pictured below right) described the allocation of $100 million to Geoscience Australia as excellent news, but called for an additional commitment also to the Exploration Development Incentive (EDI) scheme.

“Exploration geoscience must be central to the nation’s innovation agenda. Australia has a competitive advantage in resource development and must seize the opportunity for science and innovation, together with vital new capital investment in exploration, to improve discovery rates in Australia,” he said.

“To compliment the extra geoscience funding AMEC would like to see a long-term rollover and additional annual commitment to the Exploration Development Incentive (EDI) in the Forward Estimates in order to stimulate investment in eligible Australian junior mineral exploration companies who would be able to provide shareholders with a tax offset equivalent to the company tax rate. AMEC -Short_MG_1579

“The production of pre-competitive data by Geoscience Australia, the State and Territory Geological Surveys and the EDI are inextricably linked if we are to improve exploration outcomes and provide new mines for future generations.

“These strategies are also vitally important recognising that a number of large producing mines are coming to an end and not being replaced at a fast enough rate.”

Mr Short said new mines would create thousands of jobs and generate significant economic and social dividends for the nation and local communities.

The Government should also consider its role in unlocking resource projects that were ‘stranded’ due to the lack of cost effective infrastructure (power, port and rail), approvals delays or access to finance, he said.

“These need to be facilitated or fast tracked where possible,” Mr Short said.

“The Government`s $50 billion infrastructure development plan to 2019/20 is a great investment for growth and jobs but it mainly focuses on capital cities rather than critical economic producing regional infrastructure, which could release stranded mineral projects and generate revenue streams for the nation, and in regional communities.”

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