WA Govt outlines resources priorities with strategic report

The Western Australian Government has released its mineral and petroleum resources development strategy, prioritising six points including regional areas, exploration and streamlined approvals.

The first strategic priority is to cement the state as a leading global destination for exploration investment.

The report stated this will be achieved through the Government’s Exploration Incentive Scheme (EIS) which has generated $31 million in benefits to the State for every $1 million invested in the scheme.

Minister for Mines and Petroleum Bill Johnston said the Government must tend to several issues to encourage further investment.

“Central to this strategy is promoting our comparative advantages and investment opportunities, catering for current and future skills gaps, facilitating access to infrastructure, and investing in research and development,” Johnston said.

Research and development are discussed in the report’s fourth strategic priority: an evolving industry.

The report acknowledges the industry’s shift towards different commodities and parts of the supply chain, such as precious metals refinery.

The report uses Alcoa and South32’s alumina operations, IGO/Tianqi Lithium’s Kwinana facility, and BHP’s Nickel West battery metal supply as examples of the state’s ability to facilitate future-focussed mining and minerals operations.

“We expect demand for WA’s minerals to continue to grow, driven by the global transition to a low-carbon future and an increasing demand for electric vehicles,” Johnston said.

A major push to effectively regulate the industry was also a feature of the report, with multiple strategic priorities relying on the state doing so.

“The State Government recognises that an efficient and effective regulatory framework is essential for providing industry with the certainty required to make investment decisions, and is committed to support measures to streamline regulation while not compromising on environmental and social standards,” the report stated.

The most recent of the Government’s efforts in this area came in the form of Streamline WA which was launched in 2018 to enable easier business across the state.

The report also gave examples of major operations given the go-ahead in recent years.

“The ability of Western Australia’s regulatory system to allow for the expeditious approval of new mining operations has been demonstrated in recent years through the development of mines including IGO Limited’s Nova nickel-copper-cobalt project and Beacon Minerals Limited’s Jaurdi gold project,” the report stated.

Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan said the opportunities were significant for the State’s resources sector and wider economy.

“The opportunity to continue to grow and diversify our resources sector as a significant contributor to global advancements in the digital age, and the shift to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, are immense, and are expected to continue to provide outstanding economic and social benefits to the community well into the future,” McGowan said.

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