In 1998, following on from the highly successful South Australian Exploration Initiative (SAEI 1992–96) the South Australian Government signalled its confidence in the ability of the mining sector to play a key role in the state’s economic growth by providing $10 million in funding for the next four-year Targeted Exploration Initiative South Australia (TEiSA), 1998–2002.
The initiative was created as a phased, regional exploration strategy for minerals, petroleum and groundwater, with a specific emphasis on large-scale geoscientific data acquisition. TEiSA strategies recognised that in the face of lengthy mine development lead times, mineral discovery and long-term high-quality exploration commitment were acutely interdependent.
TEiSA has been successful in providing new, low-cost pre-competitive exploration data and helping accelerate the discovery of new resources throughout South Australia.
The initiative emphasised a partnership between PIRSA and industry, and built upon the understanding that knowledge of pre-competitive regional geological information is critical in the early phases of mineral exploration, both for the selection of areas to explore and the decision on what exploration tools to employ.
The benefits of this partnership approach to pre-competitive exploration included:
A project evaluation process was introduced to ensure that all industry and MPE projects satisfied specific TEiSA criteria, i.e.
Project assessment was undertaken by a panel of both industry and MPE representatives.
MPE flew a total of 602 393 line kilometres of airborne geophysical surveys during the four years of the TEiSA program to June 2002 (collaborative partner Geoscience Australia flew an additional 132 938 line kilometres).
Despite an Australia-wide downturn in exploration activity during this period, the number of Exploration Licences (ELs) granted increased in TEiSA targeted areas over the four years of the initiative.
In 2001–02, the number of ELs granted in TEiSA targeted airborne magnetic survey areas increased 39%, from 54 to 75.
Over the four years of TEiSA, the number of EL granted in the Greenstone–Ni–Pt Program increased from three to 25, and the number of companies involved in the program almost trebled.