Guy Barnett,Minister for Resources
Tasmania’s mining and minerals processing industry is a key pillar of our economy, particularly in rural and regional Tasmania.
The sector supports more than 5,100 jobs and contributes over 51 per cent of the State’s mercantile export value, or over $2 billion annually.
The Tasmanian Liberal Government is backing the industry and supporting it so it can continue to grow, which will be more important than ever as our State continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Importantly, we have already seen a 50 per cent increase in exploration licence applications in the 2020 calendar year to date, when compared with the average number of applications for 2016-2019.
This will help in identifying the deposits and ore bodies which will lay the foundation for the industry’s future success.
We are backing the sector in our 2020-21 State Budget, with over $1.6 million to continue our successful Exploration Drilling Grants Initiative which is helping the minerals sector find and plan viable greenfield developments, boosting our jobs and our economy in regional areas.
We are also investing:
- Over $450,000 as part of our Mining Sector Innovation Initiative that is helping keep Tasmanian mining at the cutting edge of technology and practice; and
- $150,000 in new funding for our Geoscience Initiative to gather up-to-date geoscientific data which will help increase investment and assist mineral exploration.
COVID-19 has also impacted mineral exploration expenditure nationally, which is why we provided an Explorer Support Package in June that includes a waiver of rentals and application fees for surrenders and extensions of term, as well as exemptions from conditions for six months to all those who apply.
That’s in addition to extending the completion date for the Round 3 Exploration Drilling Grant Initiative grants by six months and a freeze on fee increases for 2020-21.
The mining industry also contributes millions in royalties and other payments—over $31m in 2019/20—which go to support the provision of essential services to the Tasmania.
I commend the industry on their rapid response to the pandemic and their approach to COVID safety management that allowed Tasmania’s mines to continue to operate during the pandemic, supporting jobs and families in our regional areas.
We will continue doing all we can to support the sector and the thousands of jobs it supports across the State so it can continue to grow into the future.