A multi-million-dollar package will support the survival and revival of Queensland’s explorers to maintain the state’s pipeline of resources projects and jobs.
Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said he had obtained the approval of his Excellency the Governor Paul de Jersey to announce the package, which waives rents, freezes fees, relaxes requirements and makes more land and funds available to stimulate exploration to sustain the state’s explorers.
“A strong pipeline of exploration is critical to our future mineral and gas projects, to future jobs and to future business opportunities for Queensland companies,” Dr Lynham said.
“We have to ensure the survival of our explorers, many of them small to medium businesses, until the current situation improves and the economy recovers.
“The Palaszczuk Government is easing their financial pressures, and also stimulating activity by making land and government funds available for exploration.”
The package includes:
- a 12-month waiver of rent on exploration land due between 1 April and 1 September
- a freeze on fees and charges until 1 July 2021
- releasing almost 7000 square kilometres of land for gas and mineral exploration later this month
- bringing forward $2.8 million in grant funds for innovative exploration in the North West Minerals Province.
Dr Lynham said exploration was the lifeblood of the resources sector, one of the strongest-performing sectors of the economy during the COVID-19 crisis.
“The resources sector has weathered the COVID-19 storm better than most, which is good news for jobs.
“But many enterprises have had to put exploration activities on hold as a non-essential activity to reduce risks to their workforce and local communities.
“As well, many junior companies are having difficulty raising essential capital to meet exploration and holding costs.
“Our package will ensure exploration continues to identify the next wave of resources projects and jobs.”
A total of 108 km2 near Moranbah will go to tender for coal exploration tomorrow (Thursday, 7 May) and a total of 6700 km2 of land will go to tender for gas in central and south-west Queensland on 14 May.
A total of $2.8 million in Collaborative Exploration Initiative grant funds have been brought forward to 2020-21 from a $13.8 million investment package announced late last year.
Explorers can apply for grants of up to $2000,000 from today for new and innovative exploration activities.
Dr Lynham said the tender and grant stimulus would provide exploration companies the opportunity to develop bids at their desks while they waited for the economy to recover, capital to become available and field work to resume.