Minister for Minerals Resources and Energy Tom Koutsantonis said figures published last week show spending on mineral exploration in South Australia hit a post-GFC high in 2011/12.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics figures revealed spending on mineral exploration in South Australia rose to $328.4 million in the 12 months to the end of June 2012, up 28.9% compared with the same 12-month period in 2011.
“This is a wonderful result that confirms South Australia remains a major destination for investment in exploration across a wide range of minerals,” Mr Koutsantonis said.
Combined spending on mineral and petroleum exploration in SA during the same period exceeded $500 million – a milestone that has only been reach once before. Spending on mineral exploration totalled $90.0 million in the June quarter of 2012, up 5.6% from $85.2 million in the same quarter in 2011.
“PACE 2020 and South Australia’s reputation for having the world’s best pre-competitive data continue to attract exploration well above $300 million a year,” Mr Koutsantonis said.
“Explorers are continuing to invest to unlock new areas of discovery as they search for prospects to add to the state’s 20 approved mines and its substantial pipeline of projects. Spending on mineral exploration in South Australia comprised $37.4 million in exploring new deposits and $52.6 million on existing deposits during the June quarter. Exploration for copper led the way in the quarter, attracting $43.1 million in spending, up from $32.3 million. Spending on the search for iron ore rose to $26.7 million, up from $19.2 million, ” Mr Koutsantonis said.
Mr Koutsantonis reported spending on the search for uranium was slightly down from the previous quarter, totalling$4.8 million.
The South Australian Government is continuing work with the Commonwealth’s Department of Defence to open the Woomera Prohibited Area for greater exploration Mr Koutsanton reported.
“In this year’s budget, $2 million was allocated to fund new pre-competitive surveys designed to identify prospective areas in the Gawler Craton, much of which is within the WPA,” he said.
“These surveys, using the latest remote-sensing technology, will by this time next year have identified favourable geophysical and geological anomalies for explorers to directly target.”