Australian southern state open to mining

Australia’s most densely populated state, Victoria, has just released a Mineral Resources Strategy 2018–2023 in which the government presents its ideas to give the mining sector a boost.

According to the document, the provincial administration wants to grow investment and jobs in the mineral sector by spending $220 million on exploration and drilling one million metres by 2023, as well as by making at least one significant mineral resource discovery by 2028.

Such targets are based on current trends observed by authorities. The report cites a 79 per cent year-on-year growth in mineral spending to March 2018, which is nearly three times the national rate and the highest level since 2011.

The southeastern state also reported $40.7 million in mineral exploration expenditure between 2016 and 2017, $805 million in mining capital expenditure in the same period and $13.6 billion as the total direct and indirect contribution of the mining sector to the regional economy in the prior year.

“The world-class Fosterville Gold Mine near Bendigo is a prime example of the significance of mining to Victoria. It currently employs 570 people and contractors, mostly from around Bendigo, and sustains many more jobs in mining and other services in the Bendigo region and Victoria. On the back of substantial recent discoveries, the mine owner has commenced a large mineral exploration program to drive future discoveries and production. This strategy is about fostering the jobs and wealth creation of mines like Fosterville across Victoria,” Tim Pallas, Minister for Resources, wrote in the report.

With Toronto-based Kirkland Lake Gold’s (TSE:KL) mine taking the lead, gold is a sector that Victoria aims at reclaiming, the strategy states. Following a rush in the mid-1800s, the next decades saw a bit of a dip. However, the government reports a resurgence in the north-central and western parts of the state, where there have been a few mineral exploration and production successes. The province hosts 13 goldfields that have each produced more than one million ounces of gold.

Across the state -the document says- there are also copper, lead, zinc, antimony, molybdenum, tin, tungsten and nickel deposits ready to be exploited.

Besides its plans to encourage mineral exploration and development, the Victorian government also says it is going to release a resource prospectus, integrate resource and freight transportation planning and conduct competitive tenders to attract high-performing explorers, all of this while reducing costs and red-tape.

The so-called Garden State is home to giants such as BHP, Newcrest and OceanaGold. Melbourne-based firms account for 65 per cent of the mining stock from the ASX100 in 2018.