23/06/2020 - 10:41

Exploration gets $125m govt boost

23/06/2020 - 10:41

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The resources sector has welcomed the federal government’s decision to invest a further $125 million into an exploration program led by Geoscience Australia, which has now been expanded to cover exploration across the country.

Exploration gets $125m govt boost
Paul Everingham says the program will help resources companies explore greenfields areas. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

The resources sector has welcomed the federal government’s decision to invest a further $125 million into an exploration program led by Geoscience Australia, which has now been expanded to cover exploration across the country.

The Geoscience Australia Exploring for the Future (EFTF) program is a government-led initiative intended to boost resource exploration investment and create jobs.

The program uses geoscientific techniques to map geological structures, in order to identify potential mineral deposits.

The latest Commonwealth funding is an addition to a previous $100.5 million investment into the existing EFTF program, covering northern Australia.

The first phase of the program, which began in 2016, will conclude on June 30.

The further $125 million investment will extend the EFTF program by another four years and expand its reach nationally.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said expanding the program would deliver immediate and long-term benefits to multiple sectors, including resources and agriculture.

“Investments in the resources sector are investments in jobs and opportunity, especially in regional Australia,” he said.

“Our resources sector has been the standout performer over the last few months, continuing to operate safely during these unprecedented times.

“This program will help deliver the next round of investment and job creation in our world-leading resources sector.”

Mr Pitt said the government was still confident of the existing program’s long-term impacts, saying it could deliver more than $2.5 billion in economic benefits and jobs in northern Australia.

“The existing program has already demonstrated significant success unlocking Australia’s resource potential in the north that extending it just made sense,” he said.

“This will give industry, investors and the broader community a consistent, nation-wide picture of our natural resource potential.”

Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia chief executive Paul Everingham said the extended program would help resources companies explore greenfields areas, as well as facilitate new mineral discoveries.

“Exploration is the lifeblood of future resource development,” he said.

“Without ongoing investment in exploration activities, many resources would remain undiscovered, stifling the growth and prosperity of the sector and the economy into the future, risking employment, investment and government revenue.”

The Association of Mining & Exploration Companies (AMEC) chief executive Warren Pearce said the EFTF program would help discover the next generation of Australian mines.

He said AMEC had advocated to the federal government to assist the explorations sector through the coronavirus pandemic.

“This investment demonstrates the commitment of the federal government to support the mineral exploration industry, at a time when large parts of the mineral exploration have been hit hard by COVID-19,” Mr Pearce said.

“This program will bring long-term benefits to Australia and will help to attract local and international investment to Australia.”

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