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Exploring for the Future program maps almost half of Australia’s resource potential

23 July 2020

New figures from the Coalition Government’s $225 million Exploring for the Future program again show how important the resources sector is to the national economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program has mapped around 39 percent of the continent or 3 million square kilometres to reveal the resource potential of Australia’s north.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, Keith Pitt said the program had completed more than 20 collaborative activities with state and territory governments in Queensland, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and South Australia over the last four years.

“Exploring for the Future has delivered a detailed picture of resources in northern Australia - a largely underexplored region with untapped potential to support not only the nation’s mining and energy exploration sector, but other industries such as agriculture,” Minister Pitt said.

Led by Geoscience Australia, the program uses cutting-edge techniques to collect new scientific data and information about prospective mineral, energy and groundwater systems on the surface and deep underground.”

Earlier this month, Geoscience Australia launched an online portal containing around 250 new datasets from Exploring for the Future that support decision-making and investment in the region.

“We know that providing this data and information is almost as valuable as a new discovery. Fourteen companies have already taken up new exploration tenements in areas the program focused on in northern Australia,” Minister Pitt said.

“Ten of these companies have publicly recognised the role data from the program played in their decision.

“Engaging with industry sectors that could use and benefit from the new data and information has been a focus throughout the program.

Minister Pitt said benefits will flow from the Australian Government’s initial $100 million investment in Exploring for the Future in 2016 for years to come.

“A return on investment analysis of three Exploring for the Future projects by ACIL Allen, which included a number of the program’s activities, estimated the total potential benefits could be worth up to $2.5 billion.

“This is just the beginning of Exploring for the Future. Last month, we announced an additional $125 million over four years to expand the program nationwide.

“Key to economic growth in the north will be capitalising on its comparative advantages in gas, critical minerals and renewable energy sources to support manufacturing and industry growth,” Minister Pitt said.

“The Coalition believes the resources sector will be a key driver of supporting the economy post COVID-19, so the success of the Exploring for the Future program is an important component of ensuring mines and ultimately jobs of the future.”

Virtual roadshow presentations by the scientific experts involved in Exploring for Future are now available from ga.gov.au/eftf/data-and-publications/virtual-roadshow-2020

The latest update of the program can be found at ga.gov.au/eftf/program-update

The return on investment analysis of three Exploring for the Future projects completed by ACIL Allen is available in full from acilallen.com.au/projects/program-evaluation/exploring-for-the-future-program-return-on-investment-analysis

Media contact: Minister Pitt's office 02 6277 7180