Major new initiatives for the development of the minerals and petroleum industry in Western Australia will receive $10.4 million funding by the State Government.
Mines Minister George Cash said significant Budget allocations included $5 million for an accelerated geoscientific mapping program, $1.6 million to streamline the administration of mineral titles and $930,000 on mine safety and environmental management.
Mr Cash said support for the minerals and petroleum industry was justified, given the industry's importance to the economy of WA.
Last year the State's biggest industry yielded $12,600 million worth of product, provided more than 36,000 jobs and contributed more than 70 per cent of the State's export income.
"Funding these initiatives will further stimulate mineral exploration which means more mining development in the long term, more jobs and more revenue for the State," Mr Cash said.
Forward estimates from the Budget indicate that $551 million would come from mining and petroleum royalties and lease rents during 1995-96. While about $110 million would go to the Federal Government, the remainder would be channelled into the State's Consolidated Fund.
Mr Cash said funding of $5 million for the ongoing regional geoscientific mapping program would stimulate mineral and on-shore petroleum exploration.
"The four-year program is designed to increase the amount of regional geological, geophysical and geochemical mapping and to carry out petroleum resource studies," he said.
"As WA leads the nation in mineral exploration, this program is important in keeping pace with increasing exploration demands."
Mr Cash said funding of $1.6 million to develop and install an electronic mineral titles management system (MiTiS) would dramatically reduce the time for mineral title transactions.
"It is a major technological breakthrough for mineral titles management in WA and will lead the way the system is managed as we approach the 21st Century," he said.
"This initial funding is for the first stage of a $2.5 million project that will provide instant access to comprehensive titles information throughout the State.
"It will give mining companies the freedom to conduct business with regional DOME offices in the comfort of their own premises via computer or over the phone."
The Minister said MiTiS would be up and running by May 1997 and would also be integrated with a tenement graphics system for which $1.3 million had been allocated.
A computerised mine safety information system would provide on-site access to safety related data by inspectors and officers at mines and company offices.
Mr Cash said funding of $930,000 for the development and installation of the system was an important initiative to help improve the level of safety among a workforce of nearly 36,000.
He said a total of $10 million had been allocated in this year's Budget for safety measures in the mining industry and for environmental management.
Budget allocations for capital works programs being carried out included:
· $661,000 for completion of the Mining Registrar's office and magistrate's chambers at Meekatharra;
· $200,000 for planning and design of a proposed State drill core facility in Perth; and -
· $115,000 for roadworks at the Kalgoorlie explosives reserve.
Media contact: Mark Thompson 222 9595 or pager 482 4648