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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese maps the way ahead for underexplored resources

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Katina Curtis
The Nightly
2 Min Read
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will use a speech to promise $566 million over the next decade for Geoscience Australia to create maps freely available to industry and communities.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will use a speech to promise $566 million over the next decade for Geoscience Australia to create maps freely available to industry and communities. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The West Australian

A comprehensive map of every resource under the ground of Australian land and oceans will help to guide mining projects into the future, backed by more than half a billion dollars.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will use a speech to promise $566 million over the next decade for Geoscience Australia to create maps freely available to industry and communities.

As well as the medium-term funding, the Government will establish a 35-year plan out to 2060 to fully fund the work, which has the potential to add billions of dollars to Australia’s economy.

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The Prime Minister will also use his pre-Budget visit to WA to pledge $33.5 million for further planning and road widening works needed to get the Westport project going — and promise there will be other projects funded next week.

The infrastructure funding will be matched by the WA Government.

Mr Albanese described Westport at the linchpin of future trade growth in the State, saying the commitment was an example of the Government’s intentions with its Future Made in Australia scheme because it would enable more exports.

The money will speed up planning works for upgrading Anketell Road West, widening the Kwinana Freeway and Roe Highway, and duplicating freight rail lines and removing level crossings.

Geosciences Australia began resources mapping work in 2016, with its $225 million Exploring for the Future program aiming to better understand the continent’s mineral, energy and groundwater resources.

Use of its maps and data led to an estimated $76 billion of value being added to the economy in 2021-22 and $3.7 billion in royalty payments to governments, according to the Association of Mining and Exploring Companies.

However, some 80 per cent of the landmass remains underexplored.

Mr Albanese said it was vital to start a “generational project” that would pinpoint new deposits of critical minerals and the strategic materials Australia needed for clean energy and associated technology, plus more iron ore, gold and storage sites for hydrogen.

“A future made in Australia relies on providing confidence to investors, and supporting those who take on the task of exploring our vast continent,” he will say in a speech at a business breakfast in Perth.

“The world-leading experts at Geoscience Australia will drive this work and our Government will ensure their findings are freely available to industry so companies know where to drill, dig and explore to find the mineral resources that will power our future growth and prosperity.”

He said the work would also offer greater community certainty because it would help governments and businesses with infrastructure planning and environmental assessments.

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