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WA pours millions into new exploration

THE WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy has welcomed a $A5.6 million state government funding package toward mining exploration in the state.

Andrew Duffy
WA pours millions into new exploration

Via the Exploration Incentive Scheme (EIS), the funding will be directed toward 46 drilling programs around WA.

CME chief executive Reg Howard-Smith said the grants would help establish the next generation of mining activity in WA. Keeping costs competitive was crucial to getting new projects off the ground.

“To establish a future pipeline of projects we rely upon increasing the current level of exploration activity here in WA,” he said.

“When combined with decreasing ore grades and new minerals and energy-rich regions emerging around the world, the level of competition in the global resources sector is increasing for WA.

“Programs such as the EIS are welcomed by the resources sector and will deliver significant return to the people of WA.”

WA Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion said the current round of grants had been competitive, with a record 101 companies requesting $11.1 million in co-funding.

“The EIS co-funded drilling program provides incentives to drill in underexplored areas to ensure the continued prosperity of the state’s resources industry, particularly in the current difficult financial environment being experienced by exploration companies,” he said.

“In the past, the co-funded drilling program has helped unearth substantial new resource discoveries. Some discoveries such as Sirius’ Nova are expected to be mined within a few years and others, such as Beadell’s West Musgrave Handpump discovery, were instrumental in promoting interest in a region which had previously been unexplored.”

The government program refunds up to 50% 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.

The government said from 2008-09 to 2016-17 more than $130 million had been allocated to the exploration scheme.

This round a mix of small and large miners and explorers, as well as three prospectors, picked up grants.

Projects that received funding were spread from the Kimberly, through the Pilbara and Midwest down to the Goldfields around Kalgoorlie.

Along with the EIS the CME said it was working with the federal government to implement an election promise to introduce a minerals exploration tax credit to boost the sector.

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