The “booming” strength of the Western Australian mining sector has been reflected in a flood of applicants for the latest round of the Exploration Incentive Scheme’s (EIS) Co-funded Exploration Drilling Programme.
The WA Government reported that 96 applicants submitted proposals for Round 22 of the programme, the third-highest number in a round since the scheme started in 2009.
A total of $6.38 million in grants is being offered to 57 companies and prospectors selected by the WA Government.
More than a quarter of the successful explorers are searching for battery metals, while record prices are also making gold a popular target. Other commodities include copper, rare earth elements and potash.
WA Premier, Mark McGowan said Round 22 follows the WA Government’s $5 million EIS funding boost as part of its WA Recovery Plan. The additional support will increase the EIS to $15 million in 2020-21, resulting in extra funds being available across Rounds 22 and 23.
The co-funded drilling programme encourages innovative exploration in greenfields and under-explored areas of WA.
The next round of the programme will open February 1, 2021.
My Government will continue to support Western Australia’s exploration industry and resources sector as the State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Premier said.
“The additional $5 million will allow more companies to participate in the co-funded drilling program and create more jobs in regional areas.
“More rigs and workers increase the odds of new resource discoveries and new mines which bring positive, long-term outcomes to local communities.”
WA Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said the more than 50% increase in applications between Round 21 and 22 is a great sign for WA and the future of the resources industry.
“The rise in applications and continued interest in exploration reflects Western Australia’s position as a world-class investment destination for mineral resources,” the Minister stated.
“It is encouraging to see the breadth of exploration with the projects stretching from the Kimberley and Pilbara in the north, through to the Mid-West, Goldfields and Great Southern regions.”