A surge in applications has been witnessed for the latest round of the Western Australian Government’s Exploration Incentive Scheme (EIS) Co-funded Exploration Drilling Program.
The EIS is a competitive program, open for applications twice a year, which offers up to a 50 per cent refund for innovative exploration drilling projects, capped at specific amounts.
According to the State Government, 96 applicants submitted proposals for Round 22 of the program, the third-highest number in a round since the scheme started in 2009.
A total of $6.38 million in grants is being offered to 57 companies and prospectors selected by the WA Government.
More than a quarter of the successful explorers are on the hunt for battery metals, while record prices are also making gold a popular target. Other commodities include copper, rare earth elements and potash.
Round 22 follows the State Government’s $5 million EIS funding boost as part of its WA Recovery Plan. The additional support will increase the EIS to $15 million in 2020-21, resulting in extra funds being available across Rounds 22 and 23.
Premier Mark McGowan said the additional $5 million will allow more companies to participate in the co-funded drilling program and create more jobs in regional areas.
“More rigs and workers increase the odds of new resource discoveries and new mines which bring positive, long-term outcomes to local communities.”
Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston added that the more than 50 per cent increase in applications between Round 21 and 22 is a great sign for WA and the future of the resources industry.
“The rise in applications and continued interest in exploration reflects Western Australia’s position as a world-class investment destination for mineral resources,” Minister Johnston said.
“It is encouraging to see the breadth of exploration with the projects stretching from the Kimberley and Pilbara in the north, through to the Mid-West, Goldfields and Great Southern regions.”
The next round of the program will open 1 February 2021.
For more information on the Round 22 applications and a map of projects, visit www.dmp.wa.gov.au/Geological-Survey/EIS-Government-co-funded-1433.aspx