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The South Australian Government has continued its bid to lead Australia’s critical minerals supply with a new round of funding worth almost $4.5 million.

The Accelerated Discovery Initiative (ADI) announced its second round of funding recipients this month, after the first round in June last year allocated almost $3 million across 14 projects.

This year, 22 successful applicants will share the funding on various projects from drilling and exploration, Aboriginal employment, logistics support, technology and research, and geophysics.

Among the largest shares of funding were Western Areas ($390,000, two projects), FMG Resources ($320,000, two projects), and Alliance Resources and Hale Energy who received $300,000 each for their respective gold and copper oxide exploration projects.

South Australia’s Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the ADI was  intended to discover the next big thing in critical minerals.

“The government continues to push the boundaries of traditional exploration in pursuit of the next Olympic Dam or Carrapateena-class deposit and the enormous economic benefits those operations bring to the state,” van Holst Pellekaan said.

The ADI has been co-funded by the state government’s Economic and Business Growth Fund (EBGF), which was expanded to $320 million across multiple industries in the 2020-21 Budget.

Van Holst Pellekaan said the funding was an investment in a future where South Australia has mineral resources available, and the tools and knowledge to utilise them efficiently.

“The successful projects will support activities and innovative technologies to generate and test new exploration ideas, and increase new data sets that will help accelerate data sharing amongst the exploration sector,” he said.

“The initiative reflects the changing drivers in exploration, with a heavy emphasis on new technologies, scientific endeavour and upskilling to boost discovery and reduce risk.”

The funding emphasised the importance of including Indigenous Australians in the exploration of their country, allowing them to become a larger part of a joint effort to decarbonise.

“It also fosters meaningful employment and upskilling of Aboriginal employees and businesses by part funding exploration employment and related formal training opportunities,” van Holst Pellekaan said.

Fleet Space Technologies was a 2020 ADI recipient and its chief executive officer Flavia Tata Nardini said the funding allowed for a significant project to take place with OZ Minerals and the University of Adelaide.

“This grant meant we could manufacture and successfully deploy first-generation low-cost geologic instruments, advancing our mineral discovery project of innovative exploration and research in regional South Australia,’’ she said.

“This is an exciting world-first trial that is gaining global attention for a future solution approach to remote monitoring with applications for mineral deposit detection and space exploration.’’

More than 50 high-quality applicants didn’t make the cut for funding in 2021, showing the high demand in the critical minerals sector of South Australia.