23/06/2015 - 14:50

State govt hands $4.6m for exploration

23/06/2015 - 14:50

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The state government has provided a further $4.6 million for drilling and prospecting activities at 44 projects in Western Australia, including Fortescue Metals Group’s Trifecta base metals project.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion.

The state government has provided a further $4.6 million for drilling and prospecting activities at 44 projects in Western Australia, including Fortescue Metals Group’s (FMG) Trifecta base metals project.

The round 11 recipients of the state government’s $130 million exploration incentive scheme include Buxton Resources, Cassini Resources, FMG, Octagonal Resources, Poseidon Nickel and Northern Star Resources.

The program began in 2009 and will distribute about $130 million in funds over eight years, concluding in 2017.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion said the awarding of the incentives was about identifying potential new mines and the new jobs and opportunities that they could deliver for the state.

The funding round comes as Sirius Resources’ Nova nickel project in the Fraser Range, the first mine to be developed as a result of an EIS discovery, begins construction.

“More than 500 workers are building the Nova nickel project, a newly identified mineral region showing great promise that typifies the focus of the EIS,” Mr Marmion said.

Octagonal managing director Anthony Gray said the company was pleased to have been offered $70,000 in government funding, which would pay for up to half of direct drilling costs for a multi-hole project at its Burns copper-gold prospect at the Hogan’s project in WA.

“The submission process to obtain these drilling grants requires the applicant to provide high-quality, technically and economically sound proposals that promote new exploration concepts and new exploration technologies,” Mr Gray said.

“This grant will help fund the drilling of two diamond holes at the Burns prospect, where we continue systematic testing for a massive sulphide copper-gold deposit using down-hole electromagnetic techniques, while at the same time testing for other potential controls on the distribution of copper and gold.”

The state government’s co-funded drilling program refunds up to 50 per cent of direct drilling costs, with caps of $150,000 for a multi-hole project, $200,000 for a single deep hole and $30,000 for a prospector’s project.

An independent economic impact study recently revealed the EIS generated $10.3 million in exploration activity and more than a dozen full-time jobs over three years for every $1 million invested.

“But when it resulted in mine development, the study found the long-term contribution to the state’s gross state product could be up to $23.7 million per $1 million invested,” Mr Marmion said.

“I can assure the resources sector that the state government is committed to contributing a further $20 million to the scheme over the next two years.”

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