THE West Australian Government has opened applications for the latest round of the Co-funded Exploration Drilling Program.

The program offers refunds of up to 50 per cent of direct drilling costs to explorers who have been successful in the competitive online applications process.

Co-funding is capped at $150,000 for general multi-hole applications; $200,000 for a single deep hole application; and $30,000 for a prospector application.

Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls hopes the funding will stimulate increased private sector resources exploration and partnerships across Western Australia.

“The scheme increases awareness of WA’s geology, boosts employment opportunities and encourages new mineral and energy discoveries,” Mr Grylls said.

According to the state government, more than 70 projects applied for funding in the previous round, which resulted in almost $7.2 million offered to 61 drilling projects, including two prospecting projects.

The program comes under the Exploration Incentive Scheme (EIS) which is expected to commit approximately $130 million in government contributions by 2016-17.

The current round applies to exploration programs undertaken in 2014. Applications close 5pm WST, October 2011.

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