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Queensland mineral exploration

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.

Click on the image for a high resolution PDF copy.

There has been considerable commentary over the past year that the WA Government would cease the funding for the Exploration Incentive Scheme (EIS).

The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) is concerned that termination of the EIS will have a catastrophic effect on the capacity of the GSWA to promote and develop the mineral potential of WA for the benefit of all West Australians. Fifty percent of the EIS funds are currently directed to the Co-funded Exploration Drilling program and 50% is used to generate pre-competitive information such as gravity data, aeromagnetic surveys, EM surveys, seismic surveys and specialized geological reports, maps and 3D geological plans.

Click here for further details of the proposal and what AIG members can do to support AMEC’s efforts to preserve the EIS.

Dune having covered coastal access road just north of Green Head, Western Australia

A Western Australia Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) report has identified that migrating sand dunes, up to 4 km wide and 20 m high, pose potential threats to roads, homes and infrastructure in the State’s Mid West.

While the report – Migration of Limesand Dunes in Western Australia and Their Impacts – has just been released, the information has already been presented to a number of State and Local Government agencies.

DMP Project Manager Mike Freeman, a key contributor to the report, has stressed that mobile dunes move very slowly over many years, but could cause serious problems if not monitored and kept in check.

DMP has presented the information and engaged with Local Government authorities in the Mid West, including the Shires of Gingin, Dandaragan, Coorow, Carnamah and Irwin, and the City of Greater Geraldton.

Find out more from the WA DMP web site.

 

The Batavia Coast Maritime Heritage Association has initiated plans to establish a Mid West WA Geotrail and is seeking community input.

batavia-coast-png WA’s Batavia coast, centred on Geraldton and Shark Bay

This area possesses a remarkable array of geological landscapes and rock and mineral formations. These include some of the oldest rocks at Jack Hills (dating back 4.4 billion years) to some of the youngest, with fossilised reef formations perched along our coast from just ~10 thousand years ago when sea levels were higher than at present. Banded iron-formations inland, ancient marine ammonite beds, glacial deposits, dinosaur bones, copper, lead and other ores, garnet dunes and stunning landscapes add even more to the geodiversity of the region and the reasons to establish a Geotrail.

How can you help? The Batavia Coast Maritime Heritage Association will convene a meeting of interested individuals and organisations in early 2017 to discuss this proposal and all interested parties are invited to attend. To find out more download this brochure.