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Exploration in the state of opportunity

“Great state. Great opportunity” is the tagline of the Queensland Government and it’s also a great description of Queensland’s exploration industry.

Queensland has an impressive endowment of natural resources – coal, gas, zinc, copper, uranium, gold, lead, bauxite, tin and silver, and chances are that somewhere in Queensland, an explorer is dreaming of finding the next big deposit.

But exploration success requires the right mix of geology and economics. Right now, Queensland explorers are battening down the hatches and hoping to ride out the storm of low commodity prices and tight capital markets.

Queensland’s prospectivity is undeniable but current market conditions are bearing down heavily on the companies engaged in mineral and energy exploration.

How do you promote exploration in Queensland? You provide a way for successful explorers to tell their stories. What have they found? What might still be out there, waiting to be discovered?

There are hundreds of good news stories about exploration in Queensland. Exploration is a business for optimists. Explorers are always talking about the upside. Their enthusiasm is infectious. It’s one of the elements that makes working in exploration unique.

Each month, the Queensland Exploration Council (QEC) shines the spotlight on two explorers and lets them tell their story. We give them a roomful of investors and half an hour to let rip. It’s a simple format, but it works really well.

Despite the current lull in the market, these events continue to be sold out indicating that investors are still interested in the sector and want to stay informed of investment opportunities in readiness for when market conditions become more favorable again.

But it’s not just about selling exploration. It’s also about ensuring that Queensland explorers are on top of their game. We’re looking at how to learn from each other.

The QEC ran a capital raising seminar in late October with the aim of informing the leaders in Queensland’s exploration companies on different capital raising strategies. Difficult times like these call for different strategies and QEC was pleased to be able to call on its wide network in sourcing expert speakers for this event.

Similarly QEC offers bi-monthly boardroom luncheons for CEOs of junior resources companies to update them on financial, legal and regulatory matters.

How to get the exploration message out to public? The QEC produces a free quarterly newsletter which maps out the latest developments in exploration from exploration permits granted through highlights of drill results to a tracking of share prices. The newsletter notes that the QEC Explorers’ Index decreased close to 30 percent in the three months to 30 June 2013.

Not enough people in Brisbane understand that the city is a global hub for exploration. Brisbane boasts world class explorers who are based here, but are exploring all over the world. Exploration is fast becoming an export business for Queensland.

The Queensland Government is backing the “Great state. Great exploration opportunity” by funding its Future Resources Program announced in the budget for 2013/14 with the objective to make Queensland an exploration leader. It’s a welcoming sign of support from the government.

The Future Resources Program provides new funding of $30 million over three years for a range of initiatives to be administered by the Geological Survey of Queensland (GSQ). The $30million budget allocation for GSQ includes $7.5million over three years for optimising exploration success.

The government is relying on industry through the QEC and other industry bodies to identify priority projects which will make the greatest contribution to maximising exploration success.

QEC called on its members to submit suitable projects under the Future Resources Program and was pleased to have received 14 high quality submissions from industry and universities. The Government has now selected four projects to be started this year which will provide a guide for explorers to make the next discoveries around the State.

Great state. Great exploration opportunity.

For more information about the Queensland Exploration Council please visit www.queenslandexploration.com.au.

Geoff Dickie
Queensland Exploration Council

Geoff Dickie
Chair, Queensland Exploration Council (QEC)

Launched by the Queensland Resources Council in October 2010, the QEC aims to have Queensland acknowledged as the minerals and energy exploration leader by 2020 and with Brisbane confirmed as its heart.

With membership comprising a who’s who of the resources sector, together with members drawn from finance, events and marketing, research and government, the QEC endeavours to influence perceptions about the importance of exploration, and promote Queensland’s prospectivity to investors and businesses that support the exploration sector.

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