Tenfold returns from EIS

EVERY $A1 million invested in the mining industry under Western Australia’s Exploration Incentive Scheme returns $10.3 million in direct benefits to the state, a new report has found.

Jack McGinn

The details of ACIL Allen Consulting’s economic impact study into the EIS were released by the state government today, and revealed the full extent of the benefits provided to WA miners.

The study found that every $1 million spent under the EIS generated 12.5 full-time jobs in the mineral exploration industry, as well as the economic impact that comes from the discovery and commercialisation of new mines as a result.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion said the initiative had benefited the WA economy in numerous ways since its implementation in 2009.

“The lion’s share of publicity goes to the scheme’s flagship co-funded drilling program that refunds up to 50% of greenfield drilling costs,” he said.

“But the quiet achiever is the Department of Mines and Petroleum’s Geological Survey of Western Australia.”

The state government has provided $33.3 million for geophysical and geochemical surveys, with airborne magnetic and radiometric survey data now covering the majority of the state.

Marmion said the survey had recently generated mineral system studies in the state’s Gascoyne province, Edmund Basin, Speewah Basin and the Yilgarn Craton.

The review revealed that each new data release had stimulated exploration activity, with the second stage of geological modelling resulting in $13.4 million in benefits for every $1 million invested.

“While these numbers appear large, they should be considered in the context of the high commodity prices we were experiencing over the study’s sample period,” Marmion said.

“Nevertheless, the positive impact is massive.”

Key discoveries assisted by the EIS include Sirius Resources’ Nova nickel project, Beadell Resources’ Tropicana East gold project, Doray Minerals’ Dusk Til Dawn gold prospect at the Horse Well joint venture and Encounter Resources’ Millennium zinc discovery.

Under the co-funded drilling program, $54 million has been offered to more than 500 projects, of which around $21 million has already been refunded to more than 260 projects.

The WA government will provide $10 million worth of funding annually over three financial years from July 2014 to July 2017.

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