Australian state delays rent, fees collection to support the exploration sector

Navarre Minerals is one of the exploration companies searching for gold deposits in Victoria. (Image courtesy of Navarre Minerals).

The Australian state of Victoria announced that it will defer until January 2021, the collection of all rents on exploration, mining, prospecting and retention licences, as well as annual fees for extractive industries’ work.

These fees and rents bring about A$3.5 million in revenue to the southeastern state, however, after consultation with industry experts, regional authorities decided that it was important to support companies struggling due to the covid-19 pandemic.

The Victoria government said it will also expedite processes for quarries where there is a need to maintain a supply of critical materials, with priority given to critical infrastructure and bushfire recovery projects

Besides the rent deferral, the agencies in charge of regulating the resource sector have been instructed to consider the impacts of the current global situation in their decision-making process for licence and work authority approvals, and for applications to vary licence and work authority conditions, such as expenditure requirements.

The announcement was positively received by the Minerals Council of Australia, whose regional executive director, James Sorahan, said that this kind of support is likely to deliver major economic returns in the future while keeping geologists, surveyors and other personnel employed through the recovery phase of the pandemic. 

“Victoria’s explorers and miners with exploration tenements are facing significant disruptions including to people movement and equipment access as a result of covid-19. Difficulties accessing ground have made it challenging for some explorers to meet their licence conditions through no fault of their own,” Sorahan said in a media statement. “A temporary reduction in fees, charges and rents will free up funds for exploration drilling and reinvestment in mining operations. The ability to work with the government on licence conditions means a fair go for explorers.”

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