THE South Australian Government has tabled a Bill permitting mineral exploration in Woomera Prohibited Area, freeing potential for approximately $35 billion in mineral resource exploration and extraction.

Established under the Defence Legislation Amendment (Woomera Prohibited Area) Bill 2013, the 127,000 square kilometre area will be freed for non-Defence users, including resource employers.

The Bill was originally introduced in May 2013, passing the House of Representatives but lapsed in the lead-up to the 2013 election.

“This Bill will enable South Australia’s most important military testing range to co-exist with mining in one of the world’s major untapped mineral resources,” South Australian Senator Don Farrell said.

“After many years of consultation and reviews, the time is right to move ahead and pass this Bill.”

The government has indicated that iron ore, gold and other mineral resources are exploitable from the Woomera Prohibited Area, equating to approximately $35 billion in capital expenditure.

Rules set conjointly by the Minister for Defence and the Minister for Resources will dictate the establishment of eligible zones, as well as excluded zones.