WA govt boosts support for explorers

THE Western Australian government has announced an additional A$5 million in funding for the Exploration Incentive Scheme.
WA govt boosts support for explorers WA govt boosts support for explorers WA govt boosts support for explorers WA govt boosts support for explorers WA govt boosts support for explorers

WA mines and petroleum minister Bill Johnston made the funding announcement in Kalgoorlie today

Staff reporter

WA premier Mark McGowan and mines and petroleum minister Bill Johnston were in Kalgoorlie today to announce the funding boost.

The investment, which forms part of the WA's COVID-19 recovery plan, will increase funding for the EIS to $15 million in the 2021 financial year, resulting in an extra $3 million being available across the next two co-funded drilling rounds.

"The additional $5 million funding will invigorate the industry and allow more exploration companies to participate in the co-funded drilling program, creating jobs for Western Australians," McGowan said.

"The flow-on effect from this additional investment in exploration and technology will result in drilling companies deploying more rigs and workers, and lead to new resource discoveries."

The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies welcomed the funding.

"The co-funded drilling program helps exploration companies leverage matching private funding to undertake greenfield drilling, helping to bring additional investment into Western Australia, critical for helping with the recovery of the state post COVID-19," AMEC CEO Warren Pearce said.

"This investment demonstrates the commitment of the state government to support the mineral exploration industry, at a time when large parts of the mineral exploration have been hit hard by COVID-19."

A government-funded ACIL Tasman study into the effectiveness of the EIS found that every $1 million invested generated 12.5 full-time jobs for three years and stimulates exploration activity, generating $10.3 million in direct benefits for WA. 

Another $3.2 million of government funding will go towards purchasing Australia's first CAMECA-1300 Ion Microprobe, which will accelerate the acquisition of airborne electromagnetic data from the southern half of the state.

Curtin University has a 27-year-old ion microprobe that previously provided valuable data about the timing of mineralising events, but it is no longer fully operational.

"It will revolutionise our understanding of how and when Western Australia's key mineral deposits formed," Johnston said.

"Our resources industry are already world leaders in technology and research; having access to the Ion Microprobe will provide the state with a unique technological advantage to discover the next generation of resources."

The new funding follows a $7 million investment to expand the Joe Lord Core Library in Kalgoorlie last month.