Innovation is the key to Australia continuing to tap into its mineral wealth, according to the general manager of Geoscience Australia’s minerals science program.
Dr Richard Blewett told the Australian Geoscience Council Convention in Adelaide that while mining continued to be a key economic driver, northern and regional Australia still needed further discoveries to ensure economic survival.
“Australia attracted record investment in 2017, with more than $315 billion of foreign direct Investment in mining, which is almost 40 per cent of the national account,” Dr Blewett said.
“Despite the impressive economic benefits, the ongoing and future development of resources faces a number of challenges and community concerns.
“Australia, due to its long and diverse geological history, is blessed with a resources inventory that is the envy of the world.
“Much of the development has come from relatively well-known regions that were discovered decades or even a century ago.
“Despite this, there remain large areas of the continent that are underexplored, which present opportunities for new discoveries.”
Dr Blewett said regional towns like Mount Isa, Kalgoorlie and Broken Hill depended on an ongoing pipeline of new discoveries to sustain infrastructure, jobs and people.
“Replacing the inventory is essential as, over the past decade, there has not been a Tier 1 (world class) discovery in Australia,” Dr Blewett said.
“Ongoing exploration and new ways of exploring with new concepts and technology is required.
“The Australian resources industry is the most productive and innovative in the world and it will need to continue to innovate if we are to unlock the hidden resource potential that undoubtedly lies in the under-explored greenfield areas of the continent.”