Labor will boost Australian mines of the future


A Shorten Labor Government will boost Australia’s potential as a resource powerhouse and battery production superpower by investing $75 million in developing the future mining of resources such as lithium.
We want to ensure Australian mines are powering the commodities of the future – such as lithium – as we build the renewable energy economy.
Australia has every mineral needed to make a lithium battery domestically – batteries that are used in electric cars, smart phones and to store renewable energy.
Our $75 million investment will reverse the Liberals’ decision to axe the Exploring for the Future program – a program that uses cutting edge technology to find future deposits through building underground maps that show where mineral deposits lie.
Labor’s plan will support local jobs, local industries, local manufacturing of future commodities and a cleaner energy future.
Western Australia has proved to be home to globally significant deposits of lithium and other minerals and is perfectly positioned to benefit from this funding boost.
The McGowan Labor Government and industry in Western Australia are looking at how best to turn the state’s natural resources into new jobs and industries.
The Association of Mining and Exploring Companies estimates that the global lithium value chain will grow from $160 billion in 2018 to $2 trillion in 2025 – Australia shouldn’t miss out on this.
Two-thirds of Australia’s potential mineral deposits remain undiscovered because they lie below the surface and could not be explored until the advent of new technology like ground penetrating radar, big data and machine learning – all deployed by the Exploring for the Future program.
While the world is discovering “Tier 1” deposits at a rate of three a year, Australia has not made a Tier 1 discovery since 2005.
This program had delivered important successes – like showing the South Nicholson Basin north of Mt Isa is three times larger than previously though and highlighting potential new gold and copper deposits in Tennant Creek.
In its last year, the program spent $40 million across 150 small to medium enterprises – most in Western Australia, Queensland, and the Northern Territory – to deploy cutting edge technology to help make an underground mining map of Australia.
Despite these successes, the Liberals still axed the Exploring for the Future program.
Mining contributes more export income for Australia than all other industries combined, but 80 per cent of its $221 billion in earnings during 2017-18 came from mines discovered more than 40 years ago, and our global share of exploration spending has halved in the last two decades.
Studies show for every dollar of initial geological survey by government, mining companies spend between $5 and $15 on subsequent exploration.
We need to be supporting that investment to discover future mines and deposits – which is exactly what Labor will do.
This commitment is part of Labor’s Future Mines and Jobs Plan, which includes:

  • Establishing the Australian Future Mines Centre to co-ordinate exploration work and lead the scientific research and development necessary to explore under deep cover as part of a $23 million Australian Research Council Special Research initiative.
  • Providing $2 million to support 100 new scholarships for mining engineers, with 50 of them for women.
  • Delivering an industry data and skills road map.
  • Developing a Resources White Paper, to deliver the long-term vision across government for the resource sector as recommended by the bipartisan Resources 2030 Taskforce Report.

This election is a choice between Labor’s plan to create Australian jobs and build the renewable energy economy, or bigger tax loopholes for the top end of town under the Liberals. 
After six years of Liberal cuts and chaos, our united Labor team is ready to deliver a fair go for all Australians.