Grant Thornton is pleased to see that the federal budget includes some support for the junior mining sector, which has suffered significant challenges in recent years.
The 2016 federal budget provides A$100 million to Geoscience Australia for mapping mineral, petroleum and groundwater potential in targeted areas across northern Australia and South Australia, with the aim of identifying new greenfield sites for future development.
Resources and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg commented that it will improve Australia's long term exploration prospects and help address declining new onshore exploration.
Grant Thornton annual JUMEX survey of junior mining and exploration companies has, in recent years, highlighted the extent of concerns around the long term implications of the reduction in exploration expenditure on future of the industry. With exploration expenditure levels having plummeted in recent years, there have been significant concerns regarding the long term implications of a reduction in the pipeline of future mines.
The announcement of additional funding for Geoscience Australia for these mapping activities will be welcomed by junior miners and exploration companies, who have been forced to reduce their own expenditure on exploration activities as a result of very tight capital markets and a lack of investor interest in funding exploration activities.
“The junior mining and exploration sector, which comprises around a third of all ASX listed companies, has experienced such challenging conditions in recent years. Amidst the negative sentiment, one positive trend for Australia in the past year or two has been a refocus by junior miners and explorers on Australia as a location for future project opportunities.
"Additional support in identifying new greenfield exploration potential is a welcome outcome for the junior mining sector” said Holly Stiles, Grant Thornton National Industry Leader, Energy and Resources.
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