In the Australian Government’s latest federal budget, peak mining bodies have welcomed the $100 million allocation towards greenfields exploration, but many industry stakeholders say more is needed.

With fewer exploration activities occurring in Australia and a difficult economic environment for junior mining companies to access financing for exploration and project development, Australia’s known resources are rapidly depleting.

A number of Australia’s larger producing mines are now winding up and they are not being replaced.

The Australian Government has created the Exploring for the Future program in an attempt to stimulate greenfields exploration in the country again.

Exploring for the Future

As part of the program, the $100 million budget allocation will be given to Geoscience Australia. Using the funding, Geoscience Australia will gather data to boost discovery rates.

Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) national policy manager Graham Short said the organisation would like to see the Australian Government make additional annual commitment to the Exploration Development Incentive (EDI).

He said this will further stimulate investment in Australian mineral explorers and enable these companies to give their shareholders extra tax incentives.

“The production of pre-competitive data by Geoscience Australia, the state and territory geological surveys and the EDI are inextricably linked if we are to improve exploration outcomes and provide new mines for future generations,” Short said.

Infrastructure investment needed

One stumbling block for junior miners is the lack of available infrastructure in remote areas where resource-rich deposits have been discovered.

The lacking infrastructure makes it cost prohibitive for small explorers to develop these projects. The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies has called on the Australian Government to expand its $50 billion infrastructure plan to include regional infrastructure that could release stranded mineral projects such as Strandline Resources’ Coburn heavy mineral sands project in Western Australia. This project has undergone extensive exploration including a definitive feasibility study and optimisation revisions. An offtake agreement for its ore was even signed in 2012. However, due to the financing environment and current ore prices, the project has been uable to source the necessary funding for infrastructure and project development. The project has remained at a standstill awaiting an investment partner.

more government investment needed for mining sector

New Mines Necessary for Australian Economy

Looking ahead, new mines are needed for the resources sector to continue generating jobs and income for Australia.

And it isn’t just resources companies that are dependent on exploration and infrastructure investment.

Australia’s mining industry props up many support sectors including the Mining Equipment, Technology and Services sector which, alone, is worth $90 billion.

Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS)

Ongoing investment in Australia’s resources is integral to companies dedicated to servicing the industry such as contract miners, consulting companies, heavy equipment manufacturers and suppliers and haulage companies.

METS is a not-for-profit organisation that was established to strengthen Australia’s mining equipment sector’s competitive advantage.

Throughout April and May, METS was liaising with mining and equipment industries to discuss key challenges and opportunities.

This is part of the organisation’s Sector Competitiveness Plan, which, when published, will comprise strategies to improve effectiveness and productivity.

Resolute Equipment keeps its clients up-to-date with the latest industry development. This ensures we offer the most up-to-date solutions.

If your business requires reliable, efficient and innovative heavy equipment, contact Resolute Equipment today: 1300 308 840