WA’s exploration sector continues to prosper

Second-highest number of drilling applicants since Exploration Incentive Scheme began in 2009
Date: Thursday, 28 April 2022
  • $6.74 million offered to 47 drilling projects, including six prospecting projects
  • Strong focus on battery minerals such as nickel and rare earth elements

A surge in applicants for the latest round of the Exploration Incentive Scheme’s co-funded drilling program reflects the immense strength of Western Australia’s resources sector.

107 applicants submitted proposals for Round 25 of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s scheme, the second-highest round since it began in 2009.

A total of $6.74 million in grants is being offered to 47 companies and prospectors.

22 of the successful explorers are searching for battery metals such as nickel or nickel-cobalt, lithium and rare earth elements.

The co-funded drilling program, which provides incentives to drill in under-explored areas, has resulted in significant scientific and economic results for the State's resources industry.

Recent successes include Halls Creek Mining’s Mary River project where drilling uncovered encouraging gold results, and Kalgoorlie Nickel’s Emu Lake target, which found nickel-sulphide mineralisation in a zone that was not thought to be prospective.

Series 3 of the co-funded Energy Analysis Program (EAP) provided funding to a project undertaking a chemostratigraphic study in the North Perth Basin.

The EAP encourages exploration of petroleum and geothermal resources using existing State resources, such as drill core, sidewall core, and cuttings, or to re-analyse existing data.

Round 26 of the co-funded drilling and Series 4 of the EAP open for applications on August 1, 2022. For more information, visit https://www.dmirs.wa.gov.au

Comments attributed to Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston:

"The surge in exploration shows how confident mining companies are in the future of WA’s resources sector.

"This interest comes on the back of an exceptional 2021, which saw WA achieve record resource sales of $230 billion, and exploration is the bedrock of this success.

"It’s especially pleasing to see lithium, nickel and cobalt at the forefront of exploration activity; these efforts can help position WA at the centre of the global battery minerals supply chain."