The Western Australian Government is offering $5.12 million in grants to 45 companies and prospectors to encourage innovative drilling in greenfields areas as part of the Exploration Incentive Scheme (EIS).

Most of the explorers are hunting for commodities needed for Western Australia’s fast-growing battery industry, including nickel, lithium, cobalt, rare earth elements and graphite.

Also eligible for co-funding are projects targeting traditional metals such as gold, copper, silver and base metals, a project looking for diamonds and another exploring for petroleum.

The project locations match the diversity of commodities, ranging from the South-West to the east Kimberley, Goldfields and remote regions of Western Australia’s eastern border.

Since it commenced in 2009, the EIS drilling program has offered funding to more than 900 projects resulting in more than 745,500 metres of drilling across the State.

The next round of the program opens in August for co-funded drilling in 2020.

WA Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Bill Johnston, said “The sharp rise in popularity of battery materials among explorers underscores the importance of the McGowan Government’s Future Battery Industry strategy.

“We’re pleased that this round reflects such a varied mix of new-energy and traditional exploration projects.

“The EIS program has resulted in major discoveries, with more being made each year, all of them increasing the odds of opening new mines and creating jobs.”

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