Hall of Fame honour long overdue
This evening AMEC members will come together to recognise the achievements of our members and industry over the past year.
One of these is the exclusive prospector award.
The AMEC prospector award sets a high bar to encourage exploration, and is intended to recognise an outstanding mineral exploration discovery made in Australia, favouring greenfield discovery and possessing strong commercial potential.
The small number of exploration projects that result in significant finds coupled with the long lead time from discovery to production means we need to encourage more innovative methods of exploration.
Years of statistics have shown us there is an undeniable correlation between exploration activity and investment and expenditure.
Simply put, the more we invest and the more we explore, the greater chance we have of discoveries that will bolster the economy.
While the lag between discovery and production is an average of 13 years, there is also a substantial lag during the exploration phase itself. It can take many years for a project to prove its resource.
The history of our prospector award reflects this lag. Last year the award was not presented, and while this was disappointing, it was not the first time.
In 2005 and 2006 the award was not given, and at the time many in our industry were disheartened.
But the record mining boom that followed showed us the lack of an award was no indication the industry was waning.
During this time, exploration expenditure and activity increased substantially, resulting in one of the most prosperous periods for our country.
In fact we know the mining recovery is well under way. The statistics, the announcements, and commitment from industry are all trending in the right direction.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics released the figures for the last quarter earlier this week, and the metres drilled over the last quarter increased by 6 per cent nationally.
This is positive news for the sector and the Australian economy.
Without new discoveries, Australia’s current production levels will begin to decrease.
New discoveries and new mines are needed to sustain current production levels at the least.
Tonight Andrew Forrest will also be inducted into the Mining Hall of Fame. An acknowledgement of this type for his contribution to the industry is well overdue.
AMEC members will not only be celebrating the other achievements of the industry, but it will also be celebrating the very positive and exciting times ahead.
Mining entrepreneur and philanthropist Andrew Forrest will be inducted into the Mining Hall of Fame tonight.