Labor today announced a Future Mines and Jobs Plan which it said would kick-start the discovery of new mines and generate new jobs.
In a statement it said Australia was blessed with the geological bounty to continue to lead the world.
“Despite this, two thirds of potential deposits remain undiscovered because they reside deeper than previous technology could explore. These places are the potential mines of the future.”
A Labor Federal Government would establish the Australian Future Mines Centre, to co-ordinate exploration work and lead the scientific research and development necessary to explore under deep cover.
The centre would be funded through a $23 million Australian Research Council Special Research Initiative, with input from the Australian Academy of Sciences and the sector.
The plan would also include $2 million to provide 100 scholarships to arrest the dramatic decline in mining engineering degree commencements, with no less than 50 per cent of these places to be awarded to women.
The Australian Future Mines Centre would also deliver on the need for an industry data strategy and explore options for innovation collaboration across the sector – key recommendations of the Resources 2030 Task Force Report, Labor said.
“Queensland is a resources superpower for Australia. Our sector employs 316,000 people in towns and cities and adds $62.9 billion to the state’s economy,” QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said.
“It makes sense to establish a hub for resources technology, skills development and research here.”
He said any investment in exploration must go hand in hand with a commitment to transparent and consistent regulation, streamlined with the EPBC Act where appropriate.