Mining in Australia: Incentives and Initiatives
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Where does mining in Australia happen? Certain states and territories offer government-funded incentives that may help investors determine the most mining-friendly jurisdictions.

Australia is one of the world’s biggest mining hotspots, and that’s partially because the country’s government has given mining companies a good reason to explore down under: incentives.

While these incentives vary between the eight different Australian states and territories, they all help make the mining process easier and more beneficial for everyone involved. Companies are able to profit, and the government finds a strengthening economy.

For investors curious about what each area offers to mining companies, check out our list of Australia’s various incentives by state and territory.

Mining in Australia: Western Australia

Home to key mining regions such as the Pilbara, Western Australia (WA) has drawn in major mining companies from around the world like Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO,LSE:RIO,NYSE:RIO) and BHP (ASX:BHP,NYSE:BHP,LSE:BHP). As Australia’s largest state, WA has shown its strength on the mining front with plentiful resources and widespread exploration.

One of WA’s government initiatives is its Exploration Incentive Scheme (EIS), which aims to encourage exploration in WA to help stimulate and sustain the resource sector. The EIS consists of five different programs: exploration drilling, geophysical surveys, encouraging exploration through cover, 3D prospectivity mapping and promoting strategic research with industry.

While each component provides its own benefits, the exploration drilling program is considered a flagship of the EIS as it offers up to a 50 percent refund for innovative exploration drilling projects. Open for applications twice a year, costs are capped at AU$150,000 for general multi-hole applications, at AU$200,000 for a single deep-hole application and at AU$30,000 for a prospector application.

Mining in Australia: Tasmania

While Tasmania’s government puts a great deal of support into its agricultural and renewable energy sectors, the state has also directed resources towards its mining industry.

One of the island state’s initiatives is the Geoscience Initiative, a AU$1.4 million program spread out over four years. The initiative is intended to deliver new pre-competitive geoscience data and to improve the accuracy and completeness of historic geoscience data. In 2021, the re-elected Liberal government in Tasmania pledged to refresh this program with AU$2 million, and the Australian government’s Exploring for the Future Program is expected to bolster that funding up to AU$3 million.

The government also offers the AU$2 million Exploration Drilling Grant Incentive, which is set to run from 2018 to 2022 with the intention of increasing greenfield exploration in Tasmania through co-funding to applicants. The program may be extended for another four years depending on the level of uptake in the current round.

Mining in Australia: Victoria

One of the most heavily populated parts of Australia, Victoria offers a number of different initiatives and programs focused around the mining sector and energy technology.

The AU$15 million TARGET Minerals Exploration Initiative is one of Victoria’s main resource initiatives, designed to increase investment in exploration for gold, copper and other base metals. While it excludes exploration for coal, oil and gas — some of Australia’s biggest exports — it includes grants for companies to conduct co-funded mineral exploration programs. Grants from the initiative cover up to half the cost of eligible exploration activities, such as geophysical surveys and drilling and sampling analysis.

Additionally, Victoria’s government has a Low-emission Coal Program, which helps companies find innovative ways to reduce their carbon footprints. An example includes a AU$2 million contribution to Nippon Steel Engineering from Regional Development Victoria, meant to help the company investigate the feasibility of technology able to convert lignite (brown coal) into a natural gas substitute.

Mining in Australia: South Australia

South Australia’s (SA) government invests in what it refers to as “innovative initiatives” with the intent of bringing significant economic benefits to the state.

One of SA’s most prominent initiatives is its Plan for Accelerating Exploration (PACE) Copper, a AU$20 million investment intended to lead the transformation of SA’s mineral exploration industry over the next two years. While PACE was originally launched in 2004 as a AU$22.5 million five year initiative, the program’s immediate success led to several extensions and additional funding. PACE supports innovative and collaborative geoscience projects, and the capture and interpretation of geophysical pre-competitive data sets, along with other factors.

With regard to PACE’s most recent focus on copper, the work program is meant to deliver new data and information for exploration on the Gawler Craton, a 440,000 square kilometer crystalline basement located in SA. PACE Copper is referred to as the critical upstream component of SA’s copper strategy, which is meant to triple the state’s annual copper production and help it hit a production target of 1 million tonnes a year by 2030.

Mining in Australia: Queensland

Home to marvels like the Great Barrier Reef and an almost 7,000 kilometer coastline, Northeastern Queensland also hosts several different mineral resources.

While some of Queensland’s initiatives are more generalised, such as tenure reforms and a resource roundtable, others are more proactive, such as the Strategic Resources Exploration Program (SREP). Through the program, the government is set to invest AU$27.125 million over four years to boost exploration and support for resource development projects.

The funding is divided up and implemented into different initiatives, such as AU$3.6 million going towards gas exploration in the Georgina, South Nicolson and Isa super basins, and AU$4.275 million for mineral geophysics to help locate new mineral prospects over wide areas.

SREP is meant to also support the Strategic Blueprint for Queensland’s North West Minerals Province, a AU$39 million (over four years) strategy to further develop the northwestern part of Queensland. The blueprint has three major priorities, which consist of facilitating continued resource sector development, diversifying the regional economy and creating employment opportunities and working with businesses and the community to deliver integrated services.

Also available is the Collaborative Exploration Initiative, a AU$3.6 million program that provides industry grants to help encourage investment in underexplored areas and support innovative exploration techniques.

Mining in Australia: Northern Territory

Known for housing Australia’s world-renowned Outback desert, the Northern Territory (NT) spans over 1.4 million kilometers and is ripe with mining and resource opportunities.

The NT government recently launched the Resourcing the Territory initiative, a AU$26 million four year game plan designed to underpin the long-term sustainability of the territory’s resource sector. The initiative, which provides pre-competitive geoscience, investment attraction and exploration stimulus programs, replaces the previous AU$23.8 million Creating Opportunities for Resource Exploration initiative, which ran from 2014 to 2018.

Under the Resourcing the Territory initiative fall several programs with different purposes, such as the Geophysics and Drilling Collaborations Program, meant to increase exploration drilling and geophysical data in greenfields areas through co-funding assistance.

Mining in Australia: New South Wales

Playing host to national hotspots like Sydney, Newcastle and Harbor Bridge, New South Wales’ (NSW) presence on the eastern coast also plays a big part in the mining and resource sector.

According to the NSW Department of Industry, the state government has allocated over AU$95 million to exploration initiatives in recent years. One example is the New Frontiers Exploration Initiative (NFEI), designed to provide significant stimulus to future exploration for mineral and petroleum resources. Launched in 2006, the initiative has been funded by annual rental fees since 2012, with projects under NFEI helping cover areas such as pre-competitive geophysical surveys and frontier geoscientific mapping.

There is also the New Frontiers Cooperative Drilling program, which provides grants for exploration drilling programs that demonstrate strong prospectivity, good financial planning and a proven technical base. From 2014 to 2021, the program delivered three rounds of grants that funded anywhere from 50 to 100 percent of drilling meter-rate costs, with a maximum of AU$200,000 awarded per project.

Mining in Australia: Australian Capital Territory

As its name might suggest, Australian Capital Territory is a small territory spanning just less than 2,400 square kilometers between Sydney and Melbourne; it houses Canberra, the country’s capital.

Due to the territory’s size and proximity to other states like New South Wales and Victoria, there are no mining and resource initiatives available at this time.

Mining in Australia: Federal incentives

While almost every state and territory has designated incentives, there are also some available through the federal Australian government that apply to the entire country.

Formerly known as the Exploration Development Incentive, the federal government introduced the Junior Minerals Exploration Incentive in March 2018. The incentive was created to encourage investment in small mineral exploration companies, and allows eligible companies to generate tax credits by giving up a portion of their losses from greenfields mineral exploration expenditure. Following that, the tax credits can be distributed to investors who buy newly issued shares during a certain period. Exploration credits are capped at a total of AU$100 million over a four year period. Australia’s federal government announced in May 2021 that it would extend the program for four more years.

Australia also has an Industry Growth Centres Initiative that consists of six areas: advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity, food and agribusiness, medical technologies and pharmaceuticals, mining equipment, technology and services and oil, gas and energy resources. Each growth centre is a not-for-profit organization with its own Sector Competitiveness Plan, entailing a 10 year strategy for the sector, identified regulatory reform opportunities and industry knowledge priorities like skills and research requirements. The centres have access to AU$63 million in funding to develop collaborative projects that help capability and competitiveness within each sector.

This is an updated version of an article first published by the Investing News Network in 2018.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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Winsome Resources CEO Chris Evans said, “Canada and the US are working feverishly to develop an internal battery materials supply chain and we think we're going to play a critical role in that.”

Winsome Resources CEO Chris Evans: Sustainable Hardrock Lithium Opportunities in Quebec

Winsome Resources (ASX:WR1) CEO Chris Evans joined the Investing News Network to discuss the company and its Cancet lithium project in Quebec, Canada.

"We listed on the ASX on November 30, 2021," he explained. "We're lithium focused but based in Canada, and we've been pretty successful in the last six months — our share price has done well. I think I've been putting this down to the success factors which we possess as a company, including the fact that we're into lithium at a moment with high demand. Any mining company that's associated with lithium has tended to do well.

“Our assets are in Quebec, a fantastic mining jurisdiction for all sorts of reasons. Also, being listed on the ASX — Australian investors tend to like early stage plays a bit better. They've certainly woken up to the electric vehicle and lithium revolution that's occurring in the world. And it's a pleasure having the assets in Canada.”

Next, Evans got into specifics about the company's flagship project. “The Cancet project is our flagship, in the James Bay region of Quebec. All our projects are hard-rock lithium; that's digging the rocks out of the ground and concentrating the lithium in them. Then it gets converted into the final product, which is lithium carbonate or hydroxide, that then goes into electric vehicle batteries,” he explained.

“Cancet’s had about 5,500 metres of drilling done on it historically, so we know that there's a great deposit of lithium at fantastic grades. It outcrops on the surface, the lithium-containing spodumene from the pegmatite rock, where we have 3.7 percent lithium oxide over a 17 metre interval from the surface at our most successful drill hole. We just completed 2,000 metres of drilling ourselves, increasing our knowledge of the orebody that's there, and also looking for extensions to the orebody. We've got 395 claims, and our drilling and exploration is only over about 15 of the claims. So we've got a lot further to look here and a lot more to develop.”

As for supply location, and the company's relationship with the international market, Evans said, “We think it's fantastic for us, and our shareholders, that we have assets in Quebec. Roughly 50 percent of the world's hard-rock lithium comes from Australia, where it’s mined and concentrated. The problem is that final conversion into lithium carbonate or hydroxide all occurs at the moment in China ... lithium is on the critical minerals list in Canada, the US and Australia, and Canada and the US are working feverishly to develop an internal battery materials supply chain. We think we're going to play a critical role in that.”

Elaborating on the sustainability industry that drives the battery revolution, he said, “(Nearly) all power in Quebec is generated by hydroelectricity and renewable forms of electricity. That’s very important, because the mining and concentration process for lithium products traditionally produces a large carbon footprint, because it's energy intensive. The EU, from 2024, has mandated that all batteries are labeled with the carbon footprint of all the materials that are contained within them. Then, by about 2026, there's specific targets that batteries have to meet in order to be sold in the EU. If you don't have a renewable source of energy to produce your lithium products that go into those batteries, it's going to severely restrict your markets — and that's another bonus for us being in Quebec.”

Evans said that Winsome Resources’ approach is to develop a mine itself, rather than selling or partnering. “We will approach this as if we are going to be developing the Cancet project, and producing lithium ourselves, in four or so years. And I think that'll best serve our shareholders.” With regards to other ways the company could benefit investors, Evans said, “Being listed on the ASX, and having access to a lot of capital, I think there's a great opportunity for us to acquire other projects in Canada. We're about to start our summer exploration. And we're on the lookout for a new project. So I think the good news is really to come.”

Watch the full interview of Winsome Resources CEO Chris Evans above.

Disclaimer: This interview is sponsored by Winsome Resources (ASX:WR1). This interview provides information that was sourced by the Investing News Network (INN) and approved by Winsome Resources in order to help investors learn more about the company. Winsome Resources is a client of INN. The company’s campaign fees pay for INN to create and update this interview.

INN does not provide investment advice and the information on this profile should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security. INN does not endorse or recommend the business, products, services or securities of any company profiled.

The information contained here is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of securities. Readers should conduct their own research for all information publicly available concerning the company. Prior to making any investment decision, it is recommended that readers consult directly with Winsome Resources and seek advice from a qualified investment advisor.

This interview may contain forward-looking statements including but not limited to comments regarding the timing and content of upcoming work programs, receipt of property titles, etc. Forward-looking statements address future events and conditions and therefore involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those currently anticipated in such statements. The issuer relies upon litigation protection for forward-looking statements. Investing in companies comes with uncertainties as market values can fluctuate.


Where are the silver mines in Australia? You might be surprised to learn that the country is home to one of the world’s top primary silver producers.

Mining is a big part of Australia’s history, and it continues to shape the country’s economy and position in the world today. The nation is one of the world’s top producers and exporters of resources, with coal, uranium, copper and gold being some of its best-known commodities.

Australia is also a key producer of silver — it was the world’s fifth-largest producer of the metal in 2021, tied with Russia, putting out 1,300 MT. Interestingly, most of Australia's silver is produced from silver-bearing galena, but some is also produced from copper and gold mining.

Refined silver comes mainly from the Port Pirie lead smelter and refinery in South Australia, though silver is also refined at gold refineries in Perth, Kalgoorlie and Melbourne.

But where are the silver mines in Australia, exactly? While it’s interesting to know what types of deposits the precious metal is found in, many investors want to know what companies are producing silver and where their mines are located geographically. Read on to find the answers to those questions.

Where are the silver mines in Australia?

Silver has played a role in Australia since the mid-1800s — Wheal Gawler, Australia’s first metal mine, was a silver-lead mine developed in South Australia in the 1840s. And that’s not Australia’s only early silver-mining operation — the Broken Hill deposit in New South Wales and the Mount Isa deposit in Queensland are two other early Australian silver discoveries.

Broken Hill, a lead-zinc-silver deposit, was discovered in 1883 by German immigrant Charles Rasp, and the Broken Hill Proprietary Company was born in 1885; it ultimately merged in 2001 with another mining giant, Billiton, to form BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP,NYSE:BHP,LSE:BLT). BHP Billiton is no longer involved with Broken Hill, but ore is still being extracted there today. Perilya now runs the southern and northern operations.

For its part, Mount Isa was discovered in 1923 by John Campbell Miles, and like Broken Hill is still producing today. It was acquired by Glencore (LSE:GLEN) in 2013 and in addition to silver is also a producer of zinc.

These major early Australian silver discoveries are not the country’s only sources of silver. Other silver mines in Australia include Cannington, one of the world’s top primary silver producers. It’s a fly-in, fly-out mining and processing operation that is owned by South32 (ASX:S32,LSE:S32), a diversified resource company spun out from BHP Billiton in 2015. Cannington also produces lead and zinc.

Australia holds the McArthur River mine as well, which opened in 1995 and is owned by Glencore subsidiary McArthur River Mining. The mine is one of the world’s largest zinc-lead-silver mines, and is located in Australia’s Northern Territory.

Glencore’s 2021 annual report claims total silver production reached 31.519 million ounces for the year, representing a 4 percent drop from 2020. That includes 625,000 ounces from McArthur River.

The Century mine, which previously belonged to MMG (HKEX:1208), shut its doors at the end of 2015, but was a major producer of zinc (and silver) until that time. It was reopened in mid-2018 by New Century Resources (ASX:NCZ) and the company says it now has an estimated annual production capacity of 264,000 tonnes of zinc and 3 million ounces of silver.

Independence Group (ASX:IGO) also produces silver, along with copper and zinc, at its Jaguar operation in Western Australia. Gold producer Silver Lake Resources (ASX:SLR) owns some projects with silver reserves as well. As you can see, there are and have been many silver mines in Australia.

Future silver mines in Australia?

In addition to being home to a slew of large silver mines, Australia also plays host to many companies that are exploring and developing silver projects. Below are a few that have made recent progress.

Please let us know in the comments if we’ve forgotten to mention any Australia-focused silver companies. All companies listed had market caps of at least AU$5 million on May 19, 2022.

Argent Minerals (ASX:ARD) — Argent Minerals’ main asset is its 100-percent-owned Kempfield polymetallic project in New South Wales. In May 2018, the company announced an updated resource estimate for the asset — its silver equivalent contained metal now stands at an estimated 100 million silver equivalent ounces at 120 g/t silver equivalent; that’s approximately double the previous estimate.

In total the company has three projects, with all of them being in New South Wales.

Investigator Resources (ASX:IVR) — Investigator Resources is advancing silver, copper and gold deposits in South Australia. Currently its properties include the Peterlumbo/Paris silver project, the Eyre Peninsula and Stuart Shelf projects and the Northern Yorke Peninsula projects.

The total resource for Paris stands at an estimated 18.8 million tonnes at 88 g/t silver and 0.52 percent lead for 53.1 million ounces of contained silver and 97,600 tonnes of contained lead (at a cut off of 30 g/t silver). The indicated component is 12.7 million tonnes of silver (95 g/t) and represents 73 percent of the total estimated resource ounces.

Horizon Minerals (ASX:HRZ) — Horizon Minerals owns the Nimbus silver-zinc project in Western Australia. Nimbus has a high-grade silver-zinc resource estimate of 255,898 tonnes at 773 g/t silver and 13 percent zinc; the total Nimbus resource stands at 1.21 million tonnes at 52 g/t silver, 0.9 percent zinc and 0.2 g/t gold.

Silver Mines (ASX:SVL) bills itself as a leading Australian silver exploration company, and has spent a considerable amount of time acquiring Australian silver projects. Those include Malachite Resources’ (ASX:MAR) Conrad project and Kingsgate Consolidated’s (ASX:KCN) Bowdens silver project.

While the company’s main focus has been on the Webbs silver project in New South Wales, the Bowdens project represents the largest undeveloped silver project in Australia, and Silver Mines is working to get the project through the feasibility, environmental impact statement and permitting stages.

In a 2018 report, the feasibility study demonstrated an average silver production of 3.4 million tonnes per annum for the project, with 5.4 million during the first three years of operation. Estimations also included 6,900 tonnes of zinc and 5,100 tonnes of lead.

This is an updated version of an article first published by the Investing News Network in 2018.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Ryan Sero, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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