Defence Minister Stephen Smith has urged the mining sector to have its say in setting the rules for mining access in the Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA) in the north of South Australia.
The federal government has released a deed of access for public comment and resource industry engagement is critical to interim arrangements alongside defence activities in the area.
Exploration and mining will be allowed in parts of the WPA, which covers 127,000 square kilometres.
Federal Energy Minister Martin Ferguson said the WPA had great economic potential.
Estimates of $35 billion in development of gold, uranium and iron ore projects over the next decade were possible in this “previously untapped new frontier for mining”.
Tens of $billions of projects and job prospects
South Australian premier, Mike Rann said the significance of the new arrangements could not be overstated in terms of the future growth of South Australian defence and mining industries.
“These new rules will lead to unlocking tens of billions of dollars in resources, in gold, uranium, copper and iron ore that lie beneath the surface of the Woomera area,” he said.
“It could transform the area into one of Australia’s most significant resource provinces.”