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Mapping program expansion boost for explorers

Mining & Resources

Explorers are welcoming a $125 million boost from the Australian Government to expand one of its major national mapping projects beyond northern and central Australia.

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Cutting edge techniques are used by Geoscience Australia to map the nation’s geological structures at unprecedented scale and detail, in the Exploring the Future program.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said Australia was well recognised for its world-class minerals resources sector but more than 80 per cent of the nation was still underexplored.

Expanding the program to cover the entire nation including South Australia would now drive further investment in the valuable sector.

“The existing program has already demonstrated significant success unlocking Australia’s resource potential in the north that extending it just made sense,” he said.

“This will give industry, investors and the broader community a consistent, nation-wide picture of our natural resource potential.”

Pitt said the nation’s resources sector had been a standout performer over the last few months and the government was now focused on creating new jobs to help Australia recover from impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy (SACOME) have long advocated expanding the program to pinpoint high-potential deep cover resources in South Australia and attract new investment.

In South Australia, exploration incentive programs have attracted an extra $700 million in mineral exploration investment, increasing state mining revenues by $2.4 billion.

“The strength of the resources sector has underpinned the South Australian economy during the turbulence of the coronavirus pandemic, providing much-needed job stability at a time where stability was most needed,” SACOME chief executive Rebecca Knol said.

She said the resources sector was now well positioned to help boost the economy post COVID-19 and exploration incentives were critical to the discovery of new deposits.

The news comes as the South Australia today hosts a Copper to the World conference online from Adelaide and a new CORE Innovation Hub opens to bring together researchers and mining and resources industry companies.

South Australia is the third largest producer of copper in the world and the state’s copper strategy launched in 2016 outlined a plan to triple production to one million tonnes per year within the next two decades.

SA miners are also progressing expansion.

OZ Minerals announced today it is progressing plans to transform the Carrapateena copper-gold mine in South Australia into a block cave operation to significantly increase its mine life.

According to the expansion pre-feasibility study released this week, converting the lower portion of the sub-level cave at the South Australian site will significantly increase its value and mine life.

OZ Minerals chief executive Andrew Cole said the expansion would see Carrapateena’s expected throughput rate of 4.7 to five million tonnes a year from 2023 increased to 12 million tonnes a year.

Carrapateena is located in the highly prospective Gawler Craton in South Australia, approximately 160km north of Port Augusta.

The first stage of the Carrapateena expansion feasibility study is expected to be largely finished by late 2021, with less critical follow-up work to be completed at a later date.

South Australian mining company Terramin released its feasibility study on the Bird in Hand Gold Project in the Adelaide Hills this week.

The project to underground mine a high-grade gold deposit near Woodside, about 35km east of Adelaide, now waits on South Australian Government approvals.

Terramin expected the project would create about 300 jobs and have an economic impact on the state of $221 million over eight years.

This is a Creative Commons story from The Lead South Australia, a news service providing stories about innovation in South Australia. Please feel free to use the story in any form of media. The story sources are linked in with the copy and all contacts are willing to talk further about the story.

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