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The investment is designed to map Australia’s geography in order to uncover new mineral deposits.

The forthcoming 2024–25 Budget is expected to deliver a generational investment to help build a future made in Australia as part of a big focus on resources.

The government said it will invest $566.1 million over ten years from 2024-25 to deliver data, maps and other tools for use by the resources industry that will point the way to new discoveries, power the economy and commit to the full mapping of Australia over the next generation.

The government said Australia’s top geoscientists will be deployed to fully map Australian resources designed to power the future and create secure jobs now and for the next generation.

The long-term investment, led by Geoscience Australia, underscores the government’s plan to put the resources industry at the heart of its Future Made in Australia policy.

The government said regional communities, farmers and First Nations peoples will be supported to manage their land and water resources and be more fully informed about potential mining projects through the policy.

The Budget is designed to fund Resourcing Australia’s Prosperity (RAP) for 35 years to set the resources industry up for decades of exploration and future economy-making discoveries.

RAP will also map offshore areas of Australia for the first time, pointing the way to sites for carbon capture and storage as well as possible sites for clean hydrogen projects.

It is designed to provide a deeper understanding of the resource potential of regions by mapping out all of Australia’s groundwater systems, supporting climate resilience, the agricultural sector and water security for communities and the environment.

Geoscience Australia’s precompetitive data program has already led to discoveries including deposits of the critical minerals and rare earths needed to build clean energy technologies to get to net zero.

The government said precompetitive geoscience is the key to the strength of Australia’s resources sector, with Deloitte Access Economics finding that existing public precompetitive geoscience was estimated to have supported $76 billion of value added to the Australian economy and 80,000 full-time equivalent jobs in 2021-2022.

Australian precompetitive geoscience has helped stimulate exploration activity, with 65 companies exploring across 569 tenements covering more than 290,000 square kilometres of Australia.

Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, said, “There is no nation on earth better placed than Australia to achieve our goal of moving toward a clean energy future.

“This investment highlights my government’s commitment to building a secure and sustainable future for all Australians. By investing significantly in geoscience, we can boost our progress towards net zero.”

Federal Minister for Resources, Madeleine King, said “The road to net zero runs through Australia’s resources sector.

“This funding will ensure we can draw the map for our resources companies to find the minerals we need to drive our economy and build the technology we need to reduce emissions.

“The government has put the resources industry at the heart of its policy making because it knows a strong resources sector means a strong Australia.

“Geoscience Australia is a world-leading scientific institution that all Australians should be proud of, and this funding will be an unprecedented investment in our geoscience capability,” Ms King said. 

Image: https://www.shutterstock.com/g/Bardocz+Peter

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