The Australian government has taken multiple initiatives to support and further improve the mining sector. Help is available in the form of technical assistance and funding. Investing in the mining industry or starting up a mining business can prove to be a large investment. It entails a huge risk and that is mainly because of the high initial investment. Awareness of technical knowledge is also needed as one needs to have knowledge of regulatory requirements. If you are an individual or a company that is seeking to start a mining business, then Grants Assist would be able to assist you. While the organisation would not be able to help navigate regulatory requirements, it would take care of the most important aspect for your business – securing funding. Grants Assist specialises in helping individuals and businesses secure government grants and funding. They have long-standing expertise in this regard and their agents are only a call away. In this article, we will be discussing the mining industry in Australia and also go over some of the funding options available.
Mining Landscape in Australia
One of the mainstays of Australia’s economy is the mining industry. Back in the 1850s, the gold rushes played a central role in developing the country. Fast forward to 2021 and the mining industry is still a significant contributor to Australia’s annual GDP. In 2020, the mining industry accounted for 10% of the total GDP. Much of Australia’s mined goods are exported and there is little processing done onshore. The world economy has gradually started to recover from the setback faced by the pandemic. In the mining industry, the price of iron ore has spiked. It is estimated that up to $230 billion can be made in export earnings from iron ore alone.
The fourth-largest mining country in the world, Australia has nearly 350 operational mining sites. Of these, most of them are located in Western Australia, followed closely by Queensland, and then New South Wales. The country is the largest producer of lithium. In the coming years, demand for rare earth metals such as lithium will increase, as the world shifts towards electric vehicles. Australia is also among the world top five producers of nickel, zinc, lead, iron ore, and gold. The country also boasts the largest reserves of uranium and ranks fourth in black coal reserves.
In 2020, the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources announced the National Roadmap for Critical Minerals Development. The roadmap has been designed with three main objectives in mind. These are:
- Improving critical mineral exploration
- Opening up new basins, and
- Promoting downstream value-adding activity
Following this roadmap will give Australia the edge in the mineral industry on a global scale. By identifying gaps in the current capabilities of the mining industry, recovery from setbacks faced by the pandemic will be a more realisable aim.
Keeping in mind the wealth of natural resources available and the keenness of the government to support the mining industry, starting a mining business is an attractive opportunity. Below are some programs that are being run by the government that can help you with securing funding for your mining business.
Accelerated Discovery Initiative (ADI)
This initiative has been started by the government to promote innovation, capacity-building, and collaboration in the mining industry in South Australia. This program is designed to facilitate the discovery of new mineral resources and will deliver other benefits as well, including:
- Supporting development in rural communities
- Generating employment for aboriginal communities
- Promoting the use of advanced exploration technologies
The government has apportioned a total of $10 million in funding that will be disbursed over a period of 3 years. This funding is available for activities related to mineral exploration, including:
- Exploration drilling – single deep hole or multiple hole programs
- Geophysical programs – focusing on the use of innovative technology and data collection
- Logistical support – to support exploration in remote areas and new frontier regions
To avail funding under this program, applicants must pass a two-tier assessment process.
- Expression of Interest (EOI): An initial EOI submitted by applicants will be reviewed by the Department for Energy and Mining.
- Request for Proposals (ROP): Once a project has been approved at the EOI stage, successful applicants will be required to make a detailed submission.
Applications for the third round’s EOI stage will open on 26 November 2021 and close on 19 December 2021. Recipients of funding will be announced by April 2022.
Successful applicants can expect co-funding up to 50 per cent of the associated costs. In the case of exploration drilling, maximum funding of $250,000 is available. For geophysical programs, up to $150,000, and logistical support up to a maximum of $100,000. If the proposal includes multiple exploration activities, applicants would be able to secure co-funding up to $300,000.
Queensland METS Collaborative Projects Fund
The Queensland Mining, Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) Collaborative Project Fund was set up to improve the competitiveness, capacity, and productivity of the mining sector. Funds were available between $50,000 to $250,000. To be eligible for this funding, the project must be industry-led and collaborative. Preference will be given to projects that are focused on:
- Robotics and automation
- Data and digital analytics
- Mine affected water and tailings
This funding is only available for consortiums that have:
- At least 3 METs companies involved
- One of the involved companies must be conducting commercial activities in Queensland
- Cash contributions as needed
New Frontiers Cooperative Drilling Program
This program has been set up to facilitate the exploration of minerals in Groups 1, 2, 6, and 10. Under this program, funding is available up to $200,000. This project, however, is only available for NSW-based companies. To be selected, the project must be able to demonstrate:
- Adequate financial planning
- Sound technical base
To be eligible to apply, individuals or businesses must:
- Be a mining exploration business
- Be Located in NSW
- Possess a sound financial and technical background
To Sum Up
These are only some of the programs that are available for the mining industry. There is a host of other programs, and even more, are being initiated. Should you require further details about these programs and more, you should call the offices of Grants Assist. They would be able to advise you on the different available programs, which program best suits your needs, and how to submit a successful application. Through their step-by-step guidance, you would be able to secure funding for your mining start-up or business and take off in the mining industry.