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The Tasmanian Government has announced the latest round of mineral exploration grants are open as the state looks to expand its critical minerals footprint.

Tasmanian Minister for Resources Felix Ellis announced applications for round nine of the exploration drilling grant initiative opened on October 11.

“We know that there is a global shift to find the critical minerals needed to build economies based on more renewables and Tasmania can be a leader in this space,” Ellis said.

“This funding will allow explorers to test greenfield locations and exploration leads to more resource projects and more jobs in the future for Tasmanians, especially in regional communities.”

Now in its sixth year, the grant program aims to support the resources industry and its investors to find new and potentially lucrative mining opportunities as well as the re-examination of old mines.

“The Government will provide up to $70,000 for direct drilling costs and $20,000 for helicopter support, if required, for successful applicants,” Ellis said.

Ellis said the program has helped mineral exploration in Tasmania reach its highest levels on record.

“More than $43 million was spent on mineral exploration in Tasmania in the past 12 months and the exploration drilling grant initiative is helping continue this exploration boom,” he said.

Across its life the program has supported 16.1 km of drilling, with an estimated total industry expenditure of just over $5.3 million.

“As our number one export earner, the mineral resources sector contributes more than $2.8 billion a year in exports and supports more than 5800 jobs,” Ellis said.

“The Government is delivering our long-term plan to grow our economy and jobs and will continue to support Tasmania’s world-class mineral resources sector for the royalties it generates which is turn supports many of our essential services like health, education, police and emergency services and public housing.”