RESOURCE exploration in Western Australia has suffered a 22% decline during last quarter, prompting industry calls for government incentives to stimulate growth in the mining sector.

Released last week by the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (CME), the June WA Resources and Economics Report shows mineral and petroleum exploration has dropped for a third consecutive quarter, bringing total investment down to $1.14bn. Mineral exploration in particular is now 14% lower than it was this time last year.

“While this decline in exploration is likely due to weak commodity prices and a high cost environment, every effort should be made to arrest this decline,” acting CME chief executive Nicole Roocke said.

To drive growth, CME has been calling for a state-based incentive scheme similar to the flow-through share scheme adopted in Canada, including a minerals exploration tax credit to encourage exploration investment.

“Notwithstanding the transition underway in many major projects from construction to operational phase, the future pipeline of projects relies upon increasing the current level of exploration activity here in Western Australia,” said Ms Roocke.

“As we move closer to the federal election, the resource sector looks forward to a serious policy discussion about how we can reach this objective.”

For a copy of the WA Resources and Economics Report, click here.