The Government of Western Australia has announced that 42 projects will share up to $4.75m in Round 14 of the exploration incentive scheme's (EIS) co-funded drilling programme. 

Mines and Petroleum Minister Sean L'Estrange said the competitive drilling programme, which is heading into its ninth year, offered companies with added incentive to drill in underexplored regions.

L'Estrange said: “Encouraging exploration is the key to the continuity of Western Australia's vital resources industry, which will underpin the state's economy for decades to come.

“This very successful programme has already resulted in a number of major discoveries. Among the success stories is the Nova discovery east of Northam, supported by EIS geophysics data and co-funding in 2011-12, with production having commenced in November this year."

"The co-funded drilling programme refunds up to 50% of direct drilling costs."

Some of the significant EIS successful discoveries comprise Camelwood nickel deposit 500km north of Kalgoorlie, Yeneena copper deposit in the Paterson Province, Millenium zinc in the East Pilbara and Dusk Til Dawn gold discoveries north-east of Wiluna, as well as deep gold at Gruyere east of Laverton and the nickel discovery at Emily Ann near Lake Johnson.

The co-funded drilling programme refunds up to 50% of direct drilling costs with caps of $150,000 for a multi-hole project, $200,000 for a single deep hole and $30,000 for a prospector's site.

Refunds are made following completion of drilling and the submission of reports that are released publically on the WA Department of Mines and Petroleum's WAMEX and WAPIMS databases after a six-month confidentiality period.

According to the minister, the information submitted added to the geological knowledge of the state, and helped reduce risks for subsequent explorers.

An economic impact study released early in 2015 indicated that every $1m spent by the EIS generates $10.3m of exploration activity and a longer term benefit to the state, in terms of higher gross state product of $23.7m.