First gold pour at the reopened Henty gold mine. Image: PYBAR.
BY ELIZABETH FABRI
TASMANIA’s resources sector has bounced back from the sting of low commodity prices, with State mining royalties more than doubling year-on-year in FY17 and new projects and mine reopenings signalling renewed confidence for the region.
State Resources minister Guy Barnett said the industry was “rebounding strongly” with mining and minerals processing accounting for 50 per cent of the value of the State’s exports.
“I can also reveal as a further sign of growing confidence in the industry that $39.4 million was collected in mining royalties in 2016-17; an impressive increase on the $15 million received in 2015-16,” Mr Barnett said.
The “raft of good news” was bolstered by the reopening of the Henty gold mine in 2016, the granting of a mining lease to Stellar Resources for its Heemskirk tin project, and
the sale of MMG’s shuttered Avebury nickel mine to Dundas Mining for $25 million in July.
Avebury was placed in care and maintenance in 2009, and under the new ownership was expected to reopen soon.
“We have also seen the beginning of work on a number of projects at the Mt Lyell mine funded through a $9.5 million investment by the Government aimed at helping to bring forward its potential restart,” Mr Barnett said.
“The program will support innovation-focussed projects in partnership with the Tasmanian Minerals and Energy Council and the University of Tasmania’s Centre of Excellence in Ore Deposits.”
In May, the State Government also committed $1 million to a new Mining Sector Innovation Program that aimed to promote the development of technology within the sector.
“An increasingly high-tech sector of the economy, mining directly employs more than 2000 people across regional Tasmania, many in skilled occupations,” Mr Barnett said at the time.
“The program will support the industry through innovative uses for geoscientific data using new technologies; investigation of innovative solutions for mine rehabilitation and remediation; development of best practice Acid Mine Drainage Management Guidelines; and improving our understanding of landslip reactivation and implications for future planning and emergency response.”