Number One Mining Jurisdiction Sees Potential To Stay On TopBy Neils Christensen of Kitco News
Friday March 11, 2016 11:02
(Kitco News) - Just because you are number one doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels.
After being named the top mining Jurisdiction for 2015 by the Canadian-based think tank the Fraser Institute, Australian government officials still see room for improvement.
Ian Scrimgeour, executive director of the Northern Territory Geological Survey, said at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference in Toronto, Ontario, that Australia’s biggest challenge right now is to convince the world that there is plenty of mineral potential throughout the country.
Although a lot of the surface mineral has been explored and exploited, there are still massive amounts of untapped potential under the ground cover, he said.
“We still have areas that haven’t been explored yet,” he said. “The opportunities are massive for big discoveries.”
While a low Australian dollar is helping to attract more mining companies to the continent, state government officials agree that governments have an important role to play in attracting new business.
Each state has its own geological survey department, which goes out and initially explores Greenfield areas and then provide the data to potential companies looking to develop a project. Scrimgeour said the government’s initial work and survey data helps to de-risk projects.
Don Flint, assistant director of resources for the Geological Survey of Western Australia said its commitment to collecting survey data is one of the reasons his state is the number one mining jurisdiction in the world, according to the Fraser Institute.
Flint added that it has been a gradual process for Western Australia, which launched an exploration initiative scheme in 2009. The scheme, which is planning to spend A$130 million until 2017, helps to provide some funding for approved projects for Greenfield exploration but more importantly it collects massive amounts of geological data throughout the state.
“Over the last five years we have released $100 million worth of data,” he said. “We are still committed to future development and hope to extend our scheme past 2017.”
Flint agreed that there is still plenty of potential in Australia. He noted that total mineral extraction throughout Australia’s history is around 6,000 tonnes and there are indications that the nation still has about 5,900 tonnes of resources that are untapped.
Simon Crouch, director of exploration attraction for the Geological Survey of Queensland, said that it is important to have the right initiatives to motivate big companies to explore in Greenfield areas and the key is to provide them with as much data as possible to identify potential targets.
Crouch added that the challenge for Australia is to keep up with the evolving technology.
“I think it is important to stay ahead of the game to identify the new mineral and the next trend,” he said. “We are developing a project targeting strategic metals.”