Gold sector critical to WA’s economy, Minister says

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Western Australian Mines and Petroleum Minister Sean L’Estrange yesterday visited the State’s most significant recent greenfields gold discovery, Gold Road Resources’ Gruyere project, where he took the opportunity to highlight the importance of gold to Western Australia’s economy.

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“The gold sector provides more than 20,000 jobs in Western Australia and was valued at a record $9.5 billion in 2015,” Mr L’Estrange said.

“It is incredible to think that more than 130 years after gold was first discovered in the State, significant deposits such as Gruyere are still being found in the region.  It also highlights the vast mineral potential that exists, even after more than a century of mining.”

The Minister said the State Government’s Exploration Incentive Scheme, which supports innovative drilling projects that drive the discovery of new mineral deposits, generates a direct benefit to the State of more than $1.3 billion.

According to him, every $1 million invested in the scheme stimulates exploration activity generating $10.3 million in direct benefits for WA with a long-term benefit of $23.7 million.

“The scheme has been instrumental to increasing the geological knowledge of our State and the scheme’s co-funded drilling program has supported 20 major discoveries, including the Gruyere deposit,” Mr L’Estrange added.

“The mines of tomorrow are built on such discoveries, as are the jobs, royalties and other economic benefits vital for Western Australia’s continued prosperity.”

He described Gold Road Resources’ Gruyere project as “the perfect example” of the importance of creating an environment that encouraged investment in exploration and development in the State’s resources industry.

“As Mines and Petroleum Minister, I am determined to continue to create opportunities in Western Australia’s resources sector,” he said.

“It is a sector that is critical to WA’s economic prosperity and the continued prosperity of local communities.

The Gruyere project, which is located north-east of Laverton, will produce an estimated 265,000 ounces of gold annually and has an initial mine life of 12 years.