$2m in exploration grants allocated
Twenty exploration companies will share in grants of around $2m for joint industry-government drilling projects throughout Queensland.Queensland Mines and Energy Minister Geoff Wilson said the grants were offered under the first round of the State Government's Collaborative Drilling Initiative.The Collaborative Drilling Initiative is part of Smart Mining - Future Prosperity, a four-year, $29m program to increase mineral exploration in Queensland."Forty-eight applications were received for drilling proposals, which confirms the keen interest in mineral and energy exploration in the state," Mr Wilson said."The main minerals being targeted are gold, copper, lead, zinc and tin, however grants were also awarded for coal, geothermal energy, mineral sands and opal exploration."The projects being supported best demonstrated innovative exploration ideas or are located in our under-explored areas," he said.Mr Wilson said all applications had been initially assessed by technical officers within the Department of Mines and Energy and the process was reviewed by an independent panel.He said successful exploration, leading to the development of new mines, was a key ingredient for maintaining Queensland's wealth and sustaining regional communities."The number of drilling proposals submitted shows the exploration industry has embraced this program."I would like to congratulate the successful applicants and wish them every success," Mr Wilson said.Applications for proposals for the second round of the Collaborative Drilling Initiative will close on March 7, 2008, with up to $4m being made available.