The Australian government’s proposed new exploration tax credit has passed through the Senate – but with amendments.

The Junior Minerals Exploration Incentive will allow explorers with no mining income to renounce and pass on future tax deductions to Australian resident investors.

The bill passed through the House of Representatives in two days in mid-February, but the Senate pushed it back down the agenda to be dealt with when it resumed this month.

It must now return to the House of Representatives to agree to amendments made in the Senate.

The first year of the $100 million four-year commitment was supposed to be the 2018 financial year, of which there is only a few months left.

The Junior Minerals Exploration Incentive (JMEI) is a modified version of the previously failed Exploration Development Incentive, which the government binned in May last year.

“The decline in greenfields exploration over the last decade is a significant concern, and one that threatens to undermine the future growth of the mining industry in Australia,” Association of Mining and Exploration Companies chief Warren Pearce said.

“Greenfields mineral exploration is a long term, high risk activity which needs to attract scarce equity capital in a globally competitive market place.”