Copper Mining | QUESTION TIME


Ms LUETHEN (King) (15:02): My question is to the Minister for Energy and Mining. Can the minister update the house on the opportunity for copper in South Australia and what the Marshall government is doing to support growth in this mineral?

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Minister for Energy and Mining) (15:02): I thank the member for King for that question. She is a person who wants economic development throughout the state and particularly in her electorate. I am very pleased to report to the house that on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week the Copper to the World Conference was held here in Adelaide—the third one in a row hosted by the South Australian government.

As of yesterday morning, they had 326 delegates, which was an incredible performance, the best yet. It’s going very, very well, and I would like to thank the very hardworking staff in the Department for Energy and Mining, who have done a truly outstanding job in bringing that conference here to South Australia. Very importantly, as well as sharing information, it’s very much about collaborating, sharing skills and growing partnerships both within South Australia and between states and internationally.

We had 20 attendees at the conference from Chile, representing the Chilean supply and services sector in the mining industry. We had some outstanding presentations with regard to future supply-demand balances. We had a very interesting presentation with regard to how best to work towards what we know is a growing demand for clean and green and responsibly sourced copper. There was also an important presentation with regard to Aboriginal employment and Aboriginal engagement in future industrial opportunities.

It was a tremendous conference, and I was very pleased to have the opportunity to address the conference and give the opening speech yesterday. As part of that opportunity, I shared the Marshall Liberal government’s advanced discovery initiative, which is a $10 million program over three years and very clearly aimed at unlocking greater resources. This is a broad approach that has been followed for many years by government, but what we have done that is quite distinctive and important this year is significantly broaden out the types of projects that can access this funding.

Traditional, collaborative drilling programs are still certainly going to be eligible, but we have made sure that there are far more opportunities because, as innovation improves and continues, and as technology improves, we want to make sure that geoscience and digital data mining are part of it. We want to make sure that Aboriginal engagement has the potential to be part of it. We want to make sure that effort, investment and work on unlocking information about underground water become part of it. We have a wide range of things that will be included in the advanced discovery initiative from now on.

We encourage companies to collaborate with their applications. We expect that we will be out in the fourth quarter of this calendar year actively seeking applications against a set of assessment criteria and that, as soon as possible next calendar year, we will be able to progress with those successful applications. We are doing this in an effort to unlock economic opportunity, particularly through our mineral resources. Copper has a huge opportunity to do this. We know that there is in excess of 20:1 multiplier.

The Hon. A. Koutsantonis interjecting:

The SPEAKER: The member for West Torrens is called to order.

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN: This $10 million fund is expected to unlock in excess of $200 million of exploration activity and investment.