Junior explorers got another shot in the arm with the Federal Government announcing today that the Junior Minerals Exploration Incentive (JMEI) will be boosted by $100 million to extend over four more years.

The incentive allows eligible companies to convert tax losses into exploration credits to attract new investors, thereby encouraging ongoing exploration and jobs in the mining sector.

It’s a modified version of the previously failed Exploration Development Incentive, which the government binned in May, 2017.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said Australia’s successful, stable and secure resources sector was underpinned by our world class junior explorers.

“These companies ensure the ongoing exploration and the discovery of new mineral resources, including critical minerals that position Australia to drive the global economy of the future,” Minister Pitt said.

Greenfields exploration is what identifies the new high-quality mineral deposits across the 80 per cent of Australia that is underexplored. And it is junior explorers that find up to 70 per cent of deposits that form the pipeline for new projects.

To date, the Junior Minerals Exploration Incentive has supported 85 junior exploration companies, with over half of these companies headquartered in Western Australia.

“The program has encouraged companies to explore for resources in untapped areas of Australia, helping to generate future development, jobs and investment in the resources sector,” Minister Pitt said.

“We need to ensure that we have a continuous investment pipeline for development across regional Australia.”

JMEI – exploring for the future

The resources sector directly employs more than 260,000 people, with most of these jobs in the regions.

“Extension of the JMEI complements the existing suite of Australian Government support for greenfield exploration, including the $225 million Exploring for the Future Program run by Geoscience Australia,” the Minister said.

“The $125 million second phase of the Exploring for the Future Program will feature eight projects that will unlock the potential of Australia’s groundwater, energy and mineral resources across the country.”

The Minister said Australia could provide the world with secure supply chains and manufacturing opportunities for rare earths and critical minerals that are vital in the production of digital devices, batteries, new tech medical appliances and our defence componentry.

Member for the central Queensland electorate of Flynn Ken O’Dowd said the resources sector played a vital role in the production of products most people use every day.

“Nearly everything that we use each day began its life as a mineral. Your car, mobile phone are examples,” O’Dowd said.

“Global demand for minerals is increasing and I welcome the announcement to extend JMEI by four years. It will provide assistance and incentives to future miners.”