A Coalition Government will inject a massive $66 million of additional funding to the Geological Survey to provide a much needed boost to mineral and petroleum exploration in Western Australia.
Mines Minister Norman Moore said the funding over four years was expected to lead to about $1 billion in private investor exploration expenditure over the next 10 years, the discovery of mineral and petroleum resources with an in-ground value of about $10 billion and the creation of 1,700 jobs.
Mr Moore was speaking after Premier Richard Court announced the new funding while launching the Coalition’s re-election campaign in Mandurah today.
He said the problems surrounding the unworkable Native Title legislation had contributed to a significant downturn in the level of exploration in WA.
“This downturn is very serious for the future of the Western Australian economy,” the Minister said.
“The resources sector, worth some $24 billion a year, is the cornerstone of our economy and if our economy is to remain healthy, the resource projects of the future need to be discovered today.”
Mr Moore said the provision of an extra $66 million would see the Geological Survey’s base funding increase to $24 million a year together with an additional $6 million a year over the next three years to kick-start the new programs.
“This initiative is expected to attract an additional $1 billion in private sector exploration expenditure in WA over the next 10 years and result in the discovery of mineral and petroleum resources with an in-ground value of at least $10 billion,” he said.
“In addition, 500 jobs will be created in the exploration industry together with an expected 1,200 new jobs throughout the community.”
Mr Moore said the initiative would be of particular benefit to Kalgoorlie/Boulder, where a number of drilling companies were located.
“Our Government is determined to ensure that the mining industry in WA remains secure for the future,” he said.
“This determination, coupled with this massive increase in funding for pre-competitive geoscience information through the Geological Survey, will benefit Kalgoorlie/Boulder significantly.
“It also demonstrates our faith in the future of the Goldfields.”
Mr Moore said the decision to pledge the additional funds followed the Government’s analysis of an independent review of the Geological Survey carried out by a Government-appointed taskforce.
The taskforce, headed by Dr Ross Fardon, highlighted the fact that WA could no longer rely on its perceived prospectivity to drive mineral resources growth.
“When exploration is falling, the Geological Survey must take a lead role to re-orient world corporate exploration strategies in favour of WA,” Mr Moore said.
“The additional funding will see a significant increase in the supply of, and increased access to, regional geophysical, geochemical and geological information for the exploration industry.”
Media contact: Hartley Joynt, Minister’s office, 9321 1444