Roadmap to accelerate Australian minerals exploration and unlock a trillion dollar prize

August 16, 2017

Australia needs new geoscience, technology and infrastructure to reverse the decline in the rate of discoveries for base and precious metals and deliver Australia’s major new mines of the future, according to a report released today.

The AMIRA Roadmap for Exploration Under Cover—Stage 1 lays out a 15-year roadmap that will fundamentally transform our ability to find non-bulk mineral resources such as copper and gold under the majority of Australia’s landmass.

“Mining continues to be a major contributor to the nation’s GDP, with over $29 billion contributed during 2015-16,” said Joe Cucuzza, Managing Director of AMIRA International.

“The sector also generated 50% of the nation’s export earnings. The need for minerals will increase as renewable energy generation, electric and autonomous cars and consumer technologies all require huge amounts of these minerals,” said Mr Cucuzza.

“Australia is likely to have significant undiscovered wealth hidden away beneath the ‘covered’ areas of our continent. This Roadmap spells out the new data, knowledge and technologies that we need to significantly reduce the uncertainty and risk in exploring and finding these essential resources. This will replace what we are currently mining and ensure that Australia remains a major exporter into the future,” he said.

The Roadmap was developed to progress the vision of the UNCOVER AUSTRALIA initiative, established by the Australian Academy of Science in 2012.

Academy Fellow and Chair of UNCOVER AUSTRALIA, Dr Phil McFadden AO FAA, said Australian and international minerals companies are moving their exploration investments offshore because they have already discovered most of the economically-viable deposits in the 30% of Australia’s land-mass where they occur near the surface.

“The challenge now is to develop the scientific knowledge and the new technologies that are necessary to increase the chances of finding economic deposits in the 70% of Australia that is covered by moderate or deep sediment,” Dr McFadden said.

“The demand for base and precious metals is increasing rapidly. With the growth in renewable energy for example, we’ll need more copper in the next 15 years than we’ve used in all of human history.

“We’re likely to have trillions of dollars of viable deposits of these minerals, and by investing in the science needed to find them, Australia has the opportunity to re-establish itself as a world leader in minerals exploration and ensure strong economic growth for our future.”

The AMIRA International Roadmap is the result of three years of extensive consultation with minerals companies large and small, METS (mining equipment, technology and services) suppliers, federal, state and territory geological surveys, CSIRO and universities, to work out exactly what is needed to increase the success of minerals exploration in Australia.

It was supported by 53 organisations coordinated by AMIRA International and launched this morning at Parliament House in Canberra by West Australian Senator Linda Reynolds CSC (representing the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia) and Senator Kim Carr, Shadow Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.


Media contacts:

Academy Fellow and Chair of UNCOVER AUSTRALIA Dr Phil McFadden - contact Dan Wheelahan - 0435 930 465; dan.wheelahan@science.org.au
Mr Joe Cucuzza – 0411 707 603; joe.cucuzza@amirainternational.com

© 2022 Australian Academy of Science

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