Accelerated Discovery Initiative | QUESTION TIME


Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (14:27): My question is to the Minister for Energy and Mining. Can the minister update the house on how the South Australian government seeks to accelerate the growth of the mining industry through the advanced discovery initiative?

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Minister for Energy and Mining) (14:27): Yes, the advanced discovery initiative is actually an outstanding program. There was $10 million over three years announced in our last budget specifically for minerals exploration. We know that there is an enormous multiplier effect for every dollar that is spent in exploration for minerals. We know that not every dollar spent in exploration is always fruitful, but the work is very valuable. We know that the information that is received through that work belongs to the public and belongs to the industry as well.

But a lot of that work is very fruitful. We have seen a very rapid expansion, particularly in regard to copper in South Australia. We have seen the Prominent Hill mine, we are currently seeing the Carrapateena mine being delivered and we have seen some extraordinary results from Oak Dam west, near Olympic Dam. We have every reason to be very optimistic about the minerals industry and the mining industry in South Australia. We are determined to speed up that exploration, not only speed it up and have more money spent but also make that money as effective as possible.

The previous government ran what was called the PACE program, a program for accelerated exploration. It was a very good program. We are improving on that. The PACE program was for drilling—terrific. Our program includes drilling also, but not only drilling. Our program provides grants for companies with good, worthy proposals for logistics in remote locations, for the work with underground water, for Aboriginal employment, for a whole range of other things that contribute directly and positively to making exploration more effective.

We want every single dollar that is spent on exploration to be as effective as possible. We know that we’ve got the resources in the ground in South Australia. We also know that we’ve got the resources under very deep cover, and so it makes it more expensive to actually produce a mine, so we want to streamline this work as much as we possibly can. The Accelerated Discovery Initiative was welcomed very heartily by industry when we announced it last year.

We very recently closed our call for expressions of interest for proposals from industry. We have some truly outstanding proposals that have come our way, and we are in the midst of assessing them. I look forward to sharing with the house and the public the successful applicants. But, make no mistake, this is a program which the Department for Energy and Mining, in partnership with industry, and particularly utilising the services of Geological Survey of South Australia, will make an enormous positive impact on our industry for jobs, for regional development and for the traditional mining sector of course.

As well as that, some of the minerals that we have in South Australia are very much part of not only the future of South Australia but the future of the world, what is being referred these days as ‘green minerals, green mining’. All the things that we are doing in South Australia with regard to environmental improvements, with regard to renewable energy, with regard to a responsible and commercially viable way forward include mining for copper, graphite and a wide range of other resources that we have in South Australia. We will get them out to support the traditional mining industry and also to support a very positive clean future for the world.