Exploration program numbers rise in WA

INCREASED confidence in Western Australia’s minerals sector has led to a sharp jump in Programme of Work applications from exploration companies.

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) receives, on average, 200 applications each month and so far in 2018 has received an average 300 applications.

Applications have increased by 50 per cent since January, with an 80 per cent upshot (366 applications) also recorded above the monthly average in May.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said the figures indicated mineral exploration activity in Western Australia is on the rise.

“The Programme of Work figures are very encouraging and represent the buoyant nature of the minerals exploration sector in Western Australia, and the strong economic impact this will have.

“Plans are in place to address the additional applications and the department will continue to process in order of the date received to ensure applicants are treated fairly.”

DMIRS also said 83 per cent of applications finalised within the target timeline since the start of April, although it conceded the swell of applications was putting pressure on the government’s approval processing targets could result in slight processing time delays.

Lithium taskforce announces first industry consortium

Western Australia’s position as a global battery minerals player is set to be explored later this month.

It will be the first phase of consultation with industry and research representations to discuss the State Government’s Lithium and Energy Materials Strategy.

The Lithium and Energy Materials Industry Consortium, held on 19 July, offers an opportunity for industry to contribute to the development of the state’s strategy.

Chaired by Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston, the consortium will identify how to grow Western Australia’s potential in lithium and energy materials across the entire battery materials value chain by hearing from those working in the sector.

“Our industry expertise is world-class and this consortium offers an opportunity to discuss how the global battery market can create long-term benefits to our State,” Mr Johnston said.

“As chair of the taskforce, I’m excited to hear the ideas and suggestions from industry on how we can create more value for WA.”

WA Chief Scientist Peter Klinken, and an industry analyst will speak at the event, with attendees afforded the opportunity to share their perspective in a facilitated workshop on Exploration and Mining, Processing, Manufacturing and Recycling and Consumer Driven Demand for New Technologies.

It comes after the State Government announced in May the establishment of a ministerial taskforce to capitalise on WA’s potential to produce and process lithium and other energy materials.

The taskforce is also chaired by Mr Johnston and will be informed by industry stakeholder engagement, will oversee the development of a Lithium and Energy Materials Industry Strategy.

It aims to build upon Western Australia’s competitive advantages to create a sustainable, world-leading energy materials industry that diversifies the state’s economy, creates jobs and maximises benefits to the local community.Comments, enquiries or submissions on the Lithium and Energy Materials Industry Strategy are being welcomed and can be made by contacting: [email protected]