The Queensland Resources Council is urging the State Government to commit extra funding from its $3 billion COVID-19 stimulus package to a collaborative program to boost exploration for new resource discoveries.
QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said the Government’s current Collaborative Exploration Initiative (CEI), including the recent $10 million round matching industry investment, was paying dividends for Queensland.
“Exploration spending in Queensland increased almost $100 million or 30% to $408 million last financial year,” Mr Macfarlane said. “Exploration spending was up across resource commodities last financial year. “Exploration for coal was up 61% to $222 million,” he said. “Petroleum exploration was up 20% to $233 million, Gold was up 6% to $71 million and Copper was up 22% to $72 million spent in 2019-20.
“Exploration gives us new resource discoveries, new resource projects, new resource investment, new resource jobs, new resource exports and ultimately new resource royalties for all Queenslanders.”
In June, QRC presented the Government with a 40-point Resource Industry Recovery Agenda, and one of the proposals was a $100 million four-year boost to the CEI.
Mr Macfarlane said Treasurer Cameron Dick has confirmed the resource and agriculture industries would be eligible for support under the $3 billion stimulus funding planned to spend over four years.
At the Parliament’s Economics and Governance Committee hearing on 11 September, KAP Member for Hinchinbrook Nick Dametto asked Mr Dick if resource and agriculture industries would be eligible under the $3 billion stimulus package that the Government plans to allocate before the 31 October election.
“The Treasurer has continued to acknowledge resources and agriculture have been two of the mainstays of the Queensland economy during the COVID-19 response and will be critical to its recovery,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“I am pleased he has confirmed both the resources and agriculture sector can be supported through the $3 billion funding.”
Collaborative Exploration Initiative
Queensland’s Collaborative Exploration Initiative (CEI) is a hugely successful program that provides funding to Queensland exploration projects to assist in progressing knowledge about the State’s resources.
Industry is seeking access to the State’s recently announced $3 billion package to support jobs and businesses affected by COVID-19 for further rounds of the CEI in 2021.
The exploration industry will play a central role in economic recovery, maintaining jobs growth in regional Queensland.
The CEI has played a pivotal role in many successful discoveries in Queensland which may go on to becoming a producing mine delivering royalty income for the State to fund healthcare, schools and other long term benefits to Queenslanders.
The latest CEI round just three months ago in June was the largest to date, with over 145 applications. The initiative has been in place for 14 years.
Over the past 10 years the CEI has provided funding to over 60 companies, with almost 50 significant mineral deposit discoveries in under-explored areas of the State.
Amongst them are a significant silver-lead-zinc deposit as large as South 32’s Cannington mine, contributions towards Australia’s largest copper-cobalt resource by Aeon Metals and the Maronan deposit worth up to $9 billion.
As well as Government funding for the initiative, in 2018 companies invested about another $21 million, giving the program a leverage of 3:1.
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