Mining Industry Investment

23 Jun 2021

Mr McBRIDE (MacKillop) (14:56): My question is to the Minister for Energy and Mining. Can the minister update the house on how the Marshall Liberal government is building what matters by investing in the mining sector?

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Minister for Energy and Mining) (14:56): I thank the member for MacKillop, and I note his strong interest in the mining sector. Of course our budget is doing enormous things for our entire economy but specifically the mining industry. We are continuing with our Accelerated Discovery Initiative, a fantastic program partnering with industry. We have brought forward some money from stage 3 into stage 2 so that we can support exploration more quickly and also support our economy through the difficult COVID recovery times as well.

There is $4.5 million for the Accelerated Discovery Initiative. This is a wonderful time to be investing in the mining sector, and so we are coinvesting with private industry so that we can get the jobs and the royalties and all of the important benefits that are responsible and safe and productive that the mining sector brings into our state.

But a very exciting new initiative announced by the Treasurer in this budget is the Arkani Ngura National Test Mine. It is an $8 million partnership with OZ Minerals at a section of its ongoing Prominent Hill mine, but a section of that mine underground that is actually closed. There is one such facility in the Northern Hemisphere, in Canada. This will be the second one in the world and the only one in the Southern Hemisphere.

This will support our South Australian and national mining companies and also attract the international mining companies to come to South Australia to use this extraordinary facility. Myriads of things can be done and only be done in an underground mining test facility: the way of testing new styles or styles of explosives, new earthwork-type projects and the capacity to test automated underground drones, whether they be land-borne or airborne drones controlled from above the surface of the mine, all these types of things—ventilation systems. There is a wide range of opportunities to test underground in a mine.

It is the only place that you can do it, so we thank OZ Minerals for its participation. OZ Minerals is also putting finances and support into this project. It is $8 million of taxpayer money, as I said, and an extremely important project for our state. Another one is the new spectral geoscience equipment project. This project, which is also called the HyLogger 4, is a fascinating piece of technology, which I am more than happy to say people in the department understand the details of far better than I do.

The way I think about it and explain it to some of my colleagues is that it is a form of X-ray looking into the drill core samples that we have at the extensive and very impressive library of drill core samples down at Tonsley, analysing them in a digital way, recording what is in them in a digital way and then storing that information in libraries.

There is certainly still the capacity for geologists and others to go to the drill core library, have some of those samples brought down, actually handle them, inspect them by eye and look at the details, but you can also soon go to a digital library that shares all the information that this HyLogger 4 spectroscopy project has actually put into place.

We are very focused on the mining industry. We are very focused on supporting our $92 million Mining Equipment and Technology Services (METS) sector, which is sometimes overlooked but incredibly important to our state. Many South Australian companies work across the world supplying that sort of information, so we are very focused in our budget on supporting the mining industry.