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Queensland mineral exploration

Australian Institute of Geoscientists > Minerals and Energy Resources

Exploration expenditure data reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics paints a grim picture of mineral exploration for Queensland, relative to the rest of Australia.

Data were reviewed by Brisbane-based member Doug Brewster.

Queensland attracted only 7% of all exploration investment in Australia in 2019, continuing a long decline in exploration expenditure in the state. Queensland attracted 23% of national minerals exploration investment 30 years ago. The figures examined have been adjusted for CPI.

A steep decrease that ended in 1998 is interpreted to be associated with a moratorium on granting of new exploration licences associated with the Wik native title decision, from which minerals exploration expenditure has struggled to recover. The mining and exploration boom between 2005 and 2012 was all about coal in Queensland.

New South Wales is outperforming Queensland. The state attracted about 11% of national minerals exploration expenditure in 2019, up from only 6% 30 years ago.

Minerals exploration in New South Wales appears to be benefitting from relatively recent discoveries in the Cobar Basin (e.g. Mallee Bull) and the Lachlan Fold Belt (Boda). Access to land regulations in New South Wales appear to have had little impact on mineral exploration expenditure.

Mineral exploration in South Australia, after a purple patch during the 2005-2012 boom, perhaps on the back off discoveries including Sovereign Hill and Carrapateena, appears to have gone back to sleep.

Western Australia is the favoured destination for mineral exploration investment in Australia, reflected in the state’s consistently high rankings in the annual Fraser Institute survey of exploration investment intentions in recent years. Western Australia is no less affected by native title than any other state. It does, however, have a dedicated Tenure and Native Title Branch, with liaison officers to assist explorers with access and land use agreements.

Discoveries seem to be the greatest driver of future exploration investment. Equitable native title and land access processes also appear to be important considerations for explorers in determining where to invest both exploration capital and energy.

Australian Institute of Geoscientists > Minerals and Energy Resources

16th Biennial Meeting of the Society for Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits (SGA) 2021: Final call for session submissions

Technical Session Proposal Deadline 7 September 2020
SGA 2021 is calling for session proposals for consideration. Selected proposals will be included in the conference programme and are intended to provide an opportunity to share your knowledge and experience.

Don’t miss out! Submit your proposal today!

Click for submission information

Preliminary Session Themes Include:
Ore-forming processes
Specific mineral systems
New research and exploration developments
Sustainable mining and environmental issues
Social licence

Field Trip & Short Course Proposals – There is still time to submit!
Submission Deadline: 2 November 2020

The SGA2021 committee are considering single and muli-day field trips, pre- and post- conference.

View the preliminary field trip options for SGA 2021 around New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, and New Caledonia on the Field Trip page for the SGA 2021 website.

AIG is proud to be supporting the Society for Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits in delivering SGA 2021.

Australian Institute of Geoscientists > Minerals and Energy Resources

The Go-To Global Rankings for Mining Investment

The Fraser Institute, Canada’s leading public policy think-tank, conducts an annual global survey of mining industry executives and managers to rank jurisdictions around the world based on their attractiveness to mining investment.

The results help identify the countries, states, and provinces whose mining policies either attract or repel investors. Participants also offer critical insight into the policy issues that matter most to the global mining industry.

Every year, we strive to increase our response rate with sufficient data to evaluate more mining jurisdictions worldwide, providing governments with candid, measurable feedback on their mining policy framework.

Western Australia was ranked 1 in the Fraser Institute’s 2019 survey.

To participate in this year’s survey, please send your contact information to Your information will be kept in strict confidence, and will not be shared with anyone outside of the mining survey.

To learn more about this project, please contact Ashley Stedman, Senior Policy Analyst, at +1 (403) 216-7175 ext. 428 or

The Survey of Mining Companies: 2019 ranked the investment climate of 76 jurisdictions around the world based on the opinions of mining executives.

Australian Institute of Geoscientists > Minerals and Energy Resources

The New South Wales government has issued minimum standards to be considered by the Department of Regional NSW Mining, Exploration and Geoscience (MEG) when assessing an application for the grant, transfer or renewal of an authority. 

A copy of the standard is available here.

AIG received a copy of the standard dated June 2020 today.

The NSW Government states that holding an authority to explore for minerals in NSW comes with certain rights and responsibilities. MEG expects explorers in NSW to demonstrate a genuine commitment to the sustainable discovery and development of the state’s mineral resources, based on Schedule 1B of the Mining Act 1992 (Mining Act) that allows the decision-maker to take into account minimum standards when assessing an application for the grant, transfer or renewal of an authority. This standard details the mandatory criteria required to meet minimum standards and how MEG will apply them. 

The standards will be applied when assessing an applicant’s proposed work program, and when considering their technical and financial capability to carry out the work program and are intended to foster a commitment to effective and sustainable exploration. 

These criteria: 

  • benchmark applicant credentials, experience and financial capability to explore in NSW 
  • require applicants or transferees to submit geoscientifically and technically appropriate work programs that clearly describe the objectives, rationale and intended outcome of the exploration activities proposed over the term of the title, including environmental management and community consultation 
  • in the case of renewal applications, require authority holders to demonstrate over the preceding term of the authority either of authentic and tangible progress in advancing the geoscientific knowledge of the resource potential of the authority or project area and making reasonable progress in advancing a project towards mining status.

The minimum standards are intended to facilitate informed, consistent and transparent decision-making on exploration licence and assessment lease applications and also provide greater clarity and certainty to applicants and the community on how MEG assesses applications for these authorities. 

The minimum standards apply to applications for all Exploration Licences (EL) and Assessment Leases (AL) under the Mining Act, including for coal authorities. They do not apply to applications for Mining LeasesConsolidated Mining Leases or Mineral Claims (i.e. Group 7 Opals). 

An applicant’s or transferee’s nominated technical manager must have either

  • five or more years’ exploration experience in the mineral group(s) or deposit setting nominated in the proposed work program.
  • membership with a recognised relevant professional organisation (e.g. AusIMM or Australian Institute of Geoscientists) at the minimum level of Fellow

An applicant’s or transferee’s nominated technical manager must have not, at any time, had their membership refused, revoked or suspended by the organisation for conduct-related reasons.  Anapplicant’s or transferee’s nominated technical manager must not have been convicted in the last 10 years of a serious offence under the Mining Act, the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 or other relevant legislation or equivalent legislation in other jurisdictions.

Financial capability assessment requires applicant’s and transferee’s:

  • are not bankrupt or in administration; 
  • have sufficient capital currently on hand to meet the forecast expenditure and committed objectives of the entire work program; or
  • have third party commitment for the provision of finance to meet the forecast expenditure and committed objectives of the entire proposed work program; or,
  • their Board Members or Corporate Officers have successfully raised capital in the past for similar exploration programs in NSW or other jurisdictions.

MEG has published separate Work Program Guidelines that outline the expectations for how a work program is prepared in accordance with relevant legislative and regulatory requirements. These are available on the MEG website.   Guidance on how work programme requirements can be met is provided by MEG’s Work Program Guidelines

The guidelines are interpreted to represent explicit documentation of conditions that have previously applied to exploration tenement in New South Wales.  Technical Manager competence requirements, in some respects, are similar to the requirements associated with acting as a Competent Person ion compliance with the JORC Code.  The wording of the competence provisions is ambiguous in that being a Fellow of AIG or AusIMM appears to be optional.  The requirement for not having been subject to disciplinary action by AIG or AusIMM can only be satisfied by Fellows of either Institute.

Further information regarding the guidelines is being sought.  Feedback from Members is welcome.

Australian Institute of Geoscientists > Minerals and Energy Resources

AIG is proud to announce that it has extended its sponsorship of Exploration Radio for a further year.

Exploration Radio is considered to be a source of high quality and diverse professional development opportunities for geoscientists interested in the technical, commercial and social aspects of mineral exploration.  The varied content covered by the podcast is relevant to both early career and experienced geoscientists.

AIG’s funding contributes to the not inconsiderable task of producing regular podcast episodes throughout the year.