The Government of Western Australia’s Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety has reviewed 64 applications for the Exploration Incentive Scheme’s (EIS) Co-funded Exploration Drilling Program.
The EIS’ Co-funded Exploration Drilling Program provides approximately $5 million each year to encourage innovative drilling in greenfields and under-explored areas of the State.
Explorers can receive a refund of up to 50 per cent for innovative drilling projects, with caps of $150,000 (multi-hole project), $200,000 (single deep hole), and $30,000 for prospectors.
Applications for grants for exploration drilling to be undertaken in 2020 opened in August 2019 and closed in October 2019.
Successful Round 20 applicants will receive up to $4.93 million for 41 projects, with the majority of projects located in the Eastern Goldfields, exploring for nickel and gold.
The WA Government has revealed that a third of applicants are searching for battery commodities and this is dominated by nickel or nickel-cobalt exploration. Other commodities include vanadium and lithium.
Applications listing potash as the exploration target are also now a regular occurrence for co-funding.
The applications reflect an emerging industry sector, which is being supported by the WA Government’s introduction of new lower tenure rental rates for mining leases.
Mines and Petroleum Minister, Bill Johnston, said collectively the 64 applicants requested nearly $8 million dollars for co-funded drilling, which reflects positive activity in resource exploration, and is a great sign for Western Australia.
“It’s great to see such a diverse range of battery and traditional minerals, such as base metals and gold, with gold experiencing a strong market value this past financial year,” Mr Johnston said.
Since it commenced in 2009, the EIS drilling program has offered funding to more than 940 projects resulting in more than 800,000 metres of drilling across the State.
The next round of the program opens in February 2020.