Queensland’s economic recovery from Covid-19 received a boost today, with the news the state’s minerals exploration sector is on the verge of a significant new era of investment.
The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) and the Queensland Exploration Council (QEC) today released the state’s 11th annual Exploration Scorecard “Resourcing the Future”, which provides a yearly snapshot of explorer sentiment.
QEC Chair Kim Wainwright said there were positive signs emerging in Queensland’s exploration sector after almost two years of Covid-19 impacts.
“More than a third of exploration companies are expecting to increase their expenditure and activity by more than 25 percent in this financial year period,” she said.
“Our sector is on the cusp of significant opportunities, with this year’s Scorecard showing explorers are upbeat about future investment.
“Explorer sentiment towards access to investment capital is now the best it has ever been in the Scorecard’s 11-year history.
“This means the majority of explorers are feeling more confident they will be able to raise capital to support their operations going forward.”
Ms Wainwright said there was also positive sentiment about Queensland’s resource prospectivity and endowment, pre-competitive geoscience data and the level of assistance being provided by government departments.
“There are signs of fatigue with Covid-19 restrictions, however, in particular the impacts of border closures and the inability to move people and equipment,” she said.
“Labour and skills availability and policy uncertainty were also highlighted as the key areas of concern.
“Explorers will certainly be looking for a clear pathway forward to manage these issues as governments reopen borders.”
QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said the Scorecard reflected both the opportunities and risks facing Queensland’s resources sector.
“Our sector is ideally placed to lead the global transition to a low-emissions economy,” he said.
“Our powerhouse commodities of coal and gas both have a role to play in that transition because of their ability to replace other, higher emissions sources.
“Growing nations will need both lower-emissions energy and steel, which Queensland can deliver.”
Mr Macfarlane said Queensland’s new economy minerals will be essential to implement net zero emissions policies.
“Queensland is also highly prospective for commodities essential for the manufacture of battery and renewable technologies, and there is great potential to develop the hydrogen industry, though we can’t take our position as a potential global resources powerhouse for granted.
“We have the commodities the world needs, but we must ensure our policy settings are right to make the most of our state’s rich endowment of new economy minerals.”
In 2022, the QRC and QEC will continue to work with the Queensland Government on the development of the draft Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan (QRIDP) to chart a 30-year plan for the sector.