Mineral exploration hits post-GFC high



Minister for Minerals Resources and Energy Tom Koutsantonis said figures published this week showed spending on mineral exploration in South Australia hit a post-GFC high in 2011/12.

"This is a wonderful result that confirms South Australia as a major destination for investment in exploration across a wide range of minerals," Mr Koutsantonis said.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show spending on mineral exploration in South Australia rose to $328.4 million in the 12 months to the end of June 2012, up 28.9% compared with the same 12-month period in 2011.

Combined spending on mineral and petroleum exploration in South Australia during the same period exceeded $500 million - only the second time this milestone has been reached.

Spending on mineral exploration totalled $90.0 million in the June quarter of 2012, up 5.6% from $85.2 million in the same quarter in 2011.

"PACE 2020 and South Australia's reputation for having the world's best pre-competitive data
continue to attract exploration well above $300 million a year," Mr Koutsantonis said.

"Explorers are continuing to unlock new areas as they search for prospects to add to the State's 20 approved mines and its substantial pipeline of projects.

"Spending on mineral exploration in South Australia comprised $37.4 million in exploring new
deposits and $52.6 million on existing deposits during the June quarter."

Mr Koutsantonis said the State Government continued to work closely with the Commonwealth's
Department of Defence to open the Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA) to greater exploration.

"In this year's budget, $2 million was allocated to fund new pre-competitive surveys designed to
identify prospective areas in the Gawler Craton, much of which is within the WPA," he said.

"These surveys, using the latest remote-sensing technology, will by this time next year have identified favourable geophysical and geological anomalies for explorers to directly target."