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Survey taskforce welcome

A TASKFORCE to review and advise on the Geological Survey Division (GSWA) of the Department of Minerals and Energy has been formed.

The taskforce will review the current activities and budget of the division and make recommendations to Mines Minister Norman Moore before the next round of budget estimates on:

• The appropriate level of funding for GSWA

• An appropriate pricing policy for the organisation’s WA products and services

• An appropriate mechanism to ensure GSWA programs and products meet the needs of its industry and WA Government clients.

Currently, the WA Government provides $17 million in funding to GSWA each year.

GSWA’s main role is to provide the regional geo-scientific information on which private investment in mineral and petroleum exploration in WA of about $1 billion each year is based.

Mr Moore claims the current level of GSWA funding is more than double what it was when the Coalition first came to power.

However, much of the increased funding has been in the form of three and four year grants.

Association of Mining and Explora-tion Companies chief executive George Savell said the short-term nature of the government funding had been a problem for the industry.

“Programs that are essentially long-term in nature are being done in two to four year bursts,” Mr Savell said.

“We end up having funding crises every couple of years.

“We want to ensure the right information is flowing to the industry and that we continue to learn about the geology of WA.

“With this information we can better assure the WA public that the State has a viable long-term mining industry.”

Mr Savell said the taskforce was a positive step.

In a submission to Mr Moore in January AMEC asked for this sort of approach along with programs to:

• Continue a positive geological mapping program

• Establish a cohesive regional regolith –geochemical–gravity mapping plan

• Establish a regional airborne geophysics program to purchase information from contractors and to provide funds for GSWA to commission acquisition of new data

• Bring legacy data and any other data not yet treated into user-friendly databases

• Establish a new seismic traversing program.

The taskforce is to be chaired by Dr Ross Fardon. Dr Bryan Smith has been appointed as industry representative.

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