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The government has implemented an immediate deferral of mineral exploration licence fees and annual petroleum and geothermal licence fees due in the next six months. Those fees will not be due until December 31.
There is also a 12-month waiver of committed expenditure for all mineral exploration licence holders.
The moves have been welcomed by the industry.
SA energy and mining minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the impact of travel restrictions and social distancing on the operation of the state's mining and petroleum sector had been significant.
"The junior exploration sector is suffering disproportionately from the disruptive effects of the pandemic response, with many smaller companies already operating for some time in difficult financial markets finding it tough going in current health emergency," he said.
South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy CEO Rebecca Knol welcomed the government's relief efforts.
"SACOME member companies advise that this fee relief will assist them in retaining their workforces over the coming months and promptly returning to operation once markets normalise," she said.
"We know that the fee relief announced today will be of material assistance to operators during this difficult period."
Association of Mining and Exploration Companies CEO Warren Pearce said the reality was that without significant cost relief from government many small exploration companies would not survive COVID-19.
"AMEC has been calling for cost relief from all Australian governments in two key areas, exemptions from minimum expenditure requirements and mining tenement rental fees," he said.
"Both are large fixed costs, which many in our industry can no longer afford to bear.
"We are extremely pleased that the SA government is on the front foot and answering our call to alleviate some immediate financial pressures for these companies.
"With recent announcements tightening border crossing into the state for exploration, and further restrictions anticipated, such cost relief measures are both fair and reasonable.
"Mineral exploration companies face a tough finance and investment market where raising capital is incredibly difficult.
"The SA government's willingness to provide relief now will assist these companies to survive this period and to allow our industry to bounce back quicker post-COVID19, supporting the economic recovery of the state."