Explorers call for fee holiday to save resource jobs
A PEAK body has demanded licence fees for exploration companies be deferred for six months to save resource jobs.
The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) has called on the Queensland Government to provide immediate financial relief for the state's struggling mineral exploration sector.
Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said he was already investigating potential measures for the state's explorers.
AMEC member companies took part in a virtual boardroom meeting with Opposition mines spokesman Dale Last yesterday to discuss the risk of job losses and other sector challenges.
The group's chief executive Warren Pearce said the impact of Covid-19 had flattened investment in the industry and companies were unable to attract private investment on which they rely to support ongoing exploration.
"We are asking the Queensland Government to implement a waiver of exploration requirements and defer exploration licence fees for at least six months to help reduce the impact of Covid-19," Mr Pearce said.
"Our requests are in line with the latest advice from the Commonwealth Government that suggests Covid-19 will disrupt normal operations until September or October 2020."
Mr Last backed the call, saying any fee relief would give some certainty to exploration companies.
"The mining exploration industry is essential to the development of the future mining projects that Queensland desperately needs," he said.
"Without explorers we won't have the mines that create thousands of jobs and pay the royalties that build new schools, hospitals, roads and fund extra police. It's that simple."
Dr Lynham agreed that the resources sector was critical to the state's ongoing recovery.
"The Palaszczuk Government understands this is a tough time for all Queenslanders as we work together to get through this unprecedented coronavirus crisis," he said.
"I have been discussing the impact of the pandemic on our resources sector with companies, unions, peak bodies including AMEC, and mining community leaders.
"I am currently working on reasonable and practical measures to assist Queensland explorers during this difficult time."