$8.2 million in COVID-19 recovery funding for resources exploration

An extra $5 million in funding for the Exploration and Incentive Scheme
Date: Tuesday, 04 August 2020
  • $3.2 million towards purchasing Australia's first CAMECA-1300 Ion Microprobe
  • Investment part of the comprehensive WA Recovery Plan to create a pipeline of jobs

Premier Mark McGowan and Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston today announced an additional $5 million for the Exploration and Incentive Scheme (EIS) and the provision of $3.2 million for a new ion microprobe for Curtin University.

The investment, which forms part of the WA Recovery Plan, will boost exploration opportunities and provide next generation geoscience information for Western Australia's resources sector.

The EIS supports five high-level programs, including the successful co-funded drilling program, which offers up to a 50 per cent refund for innovative drilling in under-explored areas in WA.

The additional $5 million will increase funding for the EIS to $15 million in 2020-21, resulting in an extra $3 million being available across the next two co-funded drilling rounds.

Since 2017-18, the McGowan Government has invested $45 million to continue the EIS which supports industry and creates jobs.

Additionally, the funding will accelerate the acquisition of airborne electromagnetic data from the southern half of the State, which is testing for the presence of critical battery minerals (such as nickel) and water.

Curtin University, in Bentley, has a 27-year-old ion microprobe that previously provided valuable data about the timing of mineralising events, but it is no longer fully operational.

State funding of $3.2 million will enable Curtin to secure $5 million in Commonwealth funding to purchase a new CAMECA-1300 Ion Microprobe, which will be an Australian first.

In addition to its geoscience applications, the instrument will be used to support the Australian Space Agency's interest in increasing Australian participation in international deep space sample return missions. 

Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

"My Government is committed to supporting Western Australia's resources industry, and ensuring our State rebounds stronger than ever from the effects of COVID-19. 

"The additional $5 million funding will invigorate the industry and allow more exploration companies to participate in the co-funded drilling program, creating jobs for Western Australians.

"The flow-on effect from this additional investment in exploration and technology will result in drilling companies deploying more rigs and workers, and lead to new resource discoveries."

Comments attributed to Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston:

"The new ion microprobe instrument is next-generation, it will be an Australian-first and one of only five in the world.

"It will revolutionise our understanding of how and when Western Australia's key mineral deposits formed.

"Our resources industry are already world-leaders in technology and research; having access to the Ion Microprobe will provide the State with a unique technological advantage to discover the next generation of resources.

"Interestingly, the Ion Microprobe has potential applications well beyond the resources sector, such as understanding the formation of our solar system."

Comments attributed to Mining and Pastoral Region MLC Kyle McGinn:

"This is another great announcement for the local Goldfields community and Western Australia's mining industry.

"It follows on from the much-needed $7 million expansion of the Joe Lord Core Library that the Premier announced in Kalgoorlie-Boulder last month.

"We are the Government that ensured the funding for EIS is ongoing and secure for the long term. We will continue to support projects and activities that bring great local outcomes."