Mineral exploration falls into a hole


The State Liberals are calling on the Weatherill Government to reverse its budget cuts to the Minerals Resources and Energy budget to stem a disastrous slide in jobs and exploration in the mining sector in South Australia.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data released yesterday shows mining and petroleum exploration in South Australia has fallen from $647.7 million in 2013-14 to $486.3 million in 2014-15.

The $11.7 million spent looking for minerals in the June quarter was the lowest since 2004.

“The loss of $161 million in exploration investment in mining in South Australia is the latest bad news for the state economy in general and the mining sector in particular,” said Shadow Minister for Minerals Resources and Energy Dan van Holst Pellekaan.

“The data comes on the back of the loss of 4,400 mining jobs since last November, when the Weatherill Government promised to create an extra 5,000 jobs in the industry.

“The ABS data shows a 59.8 per cent fall in mineral exploration compared with the corresponding period 12 months ago and a 73.4 per cent fall in petroleum exploration over the same period.

“The reported figures also show mining exploration collapsing in South Australia at a faster rate than anywhere else in the country.

“This disastrous data also makes a mockery of the Weatherill Government’s much hyped 10 point economic plan.”

The first priority in the Weatherill Government’s 10-point plan is:

1: Unlocking the full potential of SA’s resources, energy and renewable assets – Relevant targets:

Within 12 months SA will increase private investment in mineral and energy resources annual exploration expenditure from $648m in 2013-14 to $750 in 2014-15; and

By 2017 SA will increase private investment in mineral and energy resources exploration expenditure from $648m in 2013-14 to $1 billion per annum in 2017.

The Mineral Resources and Energy budget has been reduced by $6 million in 2015-16 which includes the de-funding the Plan for Accelerating Exploration (PACE) Frontiers initiative in 2014-15 ($1.3m).