The Western Australian Government will announce the successful company proposals to the Exploration Incentive Scheme (EIS) next month. There were 52 applications received ranging from co-funded drilling and lithium drilling projects.

Successful applicants will be notified early December with project works to find the next big mineral deposit expected to start in 2018.

The $10-million-a-year EIS which funds drilling programs and pre-competitive geoscience surveys, encourages resource exploration and helps to increase the number of new mineral and energy discoveries.

The locations of this round’s proposed gold, lithium, base metals, potash and nickel projects are located throughout WA from the South-West to the west Kimberley region.

“The McGowan Labor Government continues to encourage investment in resources exploration and creating jobs in our State,” Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston, said.

The announcement follows coverage in the Sydney Morning Herald Fortescue Metals Group is looking for lithium in WA’s Pilbara in response to the strengthening outlook for lithium and electric vehicles worldwide.

The West Australian reported McGowan was ‘excited about the opportunities the global shift to electric vehicles offers to WA’s lithium miners, who supply a critical ingredient in most modern batteries’.

“WA is in a prime position to capitalise on the growing world market for lithium,” Mr McGowan told the West Australian.

“We can achieve this not only through mining our huge deposits, but through processing the raw materials locally to create more ongoing jobs.”

The paper stated WA produces one-third of the world’s lithium supply, through the Greenbushes mine in the South West and that the state was about to expand that share dramatically, with more than $2 billion worth of projects in the pipeline.

“More than 1000 West Australians now work for lithium miners, and that is likely to double or triple in the next few years,” the paper stated.