“There are no clear signs in the 2016/17 Budget that the Queensland Government is looking to the future through a promotion of increased exploration to discover the mines of tomorrow,” said Simon Bennison, Chief Executive, Association of Mining and Exploration Companies.
“In handing down his second budget Treasurer Curtis Pitt has focussed on providing new jobs in the State. However, the Government seems to have forgotten the significant importance of the exploration sector in being the life blood of the economy and revenue streams.
“The critical decline in exploration expenditure on greenfield sites has not been provided any priority attention – with exploration expenditure dropping from AUS$224 million in 2012/13 to AUS$49 million this year to March 2016. The industry as a whole is also faced with lower discovery rates, deeper deposits and increased operating costs.
“We need to have the right public policy settings in place to attract much needed investment in what is a globally competitive environment. AMEC welcomes the decision to not increase mineral related royalties, but notes that the gold royalty rate is higher than other Australian jurisdictions. Access to pre-competitive geoscience data is critical, and therefore adequate funding to the Geological Survey of Queensland (GSQ) is necessary. However, it appears that funding has been cut dramatically. This needs to be rectified immediately,” he continued.
“To further stimulate exploration activity AMEC has consistently been calling on the Government to build a more flexible financial assurance scheme which reduces risk and encourages rehabilitation. We have strongly recommended the Government should establish a Mining Rehabilitation Fund (MRF) model similar to that successfully implemented in Western Australia. AMEC looks forward to closely working with the Government to get the MRF model adopted. It is also critical that the Queensland Government supports a co-funded drilling programme to encourage greenfield exploration, and exempt stamp duty on mineral exploration tenement transfers. Unfortunately, the Budget missed these opportunities.”
“AMEC looks forward to constructively working with the Government in the years ahead to make Queensland a more attractive place in which to invest and encourage exploration and mining activities for the benefit of the whole economy,” said Simon Bennison.
Edited from press release by Angharad Lock