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Project name:PACE Discovery Drilling 2016
Project leader:Christopher Wilcox
Project group:Sue Brent
Assessment Committee and External Assessors
Program:PACE Discovery Drilling 2016


PACE Discovery Drilling 2016 embodies a partnership with industry that fosters exploration drilling in under-explored and frontier areas of South Australia which are predicted to have high mineral potential, but are obscured by surficial layers of cover sediments.

PACE Discovery Drilling co-funds company exploration projects within the state with the goal of bringing forward mineral discovery and advancing the subsurface geological knowledge of South Australia. PACE co-funding has traditionally been up to 50% of direct drilling costs (capped at $100,000). Discovery Drilling 2016 has expanded both the total level of funding and the claimable expenses, providing a significant increase in support for successful projects. This increase is vital at this time when global capital available for exploration programs is so limited.

New key elements of these programs are:

  • A raised cap on government funding (up to 50%; available funding raised from $100,000 to $250,000)
  • Companies can claim for additional costs, including Aboriginal heritage surveys, analytical work and local geological contracting appointments
  • The inclusion of brownfield projects in the program


Direct government investment in collaborative programs has a demonstrated history of stimulating exploration and jobs, leveraging further investment and promoting discovery. Co-investment in private exploration programs directly affect company activity and employment levels and see investment flow-through to local service providers, local businesses and regional communities.

PACE Discovery Drilling was initially launched as 'Drilling Collaboration between PIRSA and Industry' during the first PACE Initiative in 2004. It was a revolutionary program which saw government co-fund greenfield drilling projects up to half of the total drilling costs (capped at $100,000).

Though the previous eight rounds the program has delivered a number of significant new mineral discoveries for the state through holes which were unlikely to have been drilled in the absence of such a program. Results have also extended valuable resource estimates, tested new exploration models and deposit styles and contributed hugely to the geological understanding of South Australia.

The current round – PACE Discovery Drilling 2016 – has taken the program further with the new grant caps and expanded claimable expenses. The latest round will fund up to 50% of a company exploration drilling proposal, up to a capped amount of $250,000. Given that PACE Copper is an 18 month initiative, to the end of the 2016/17 financial year, there will be no extensions past this period.

PACE Discovery Drilling 2016 has expanded the claimable expenses to include those incurred as part of the Aboriginal heritage clearance survey process and from any assays taken from the core or from down hole analytical work. Expenditure associated with the clearance of drilling collars includes anthropological surveys and reports, meetings and costs associated with surveys with Native Title groups/Traditional Owners. Support for this component of the proposal is capped at $20,000.

Key outcomes

  • Leveraged exploration expenditure (~ 1.7 to 1 multiplier)
    • Total number of proposals: 47 (32 companies)
    • Total number of funded proposals: 26 (24 companies)
    • Total Department of State Development (DSD) funding for PACE Discovery Drilling 2016: $3,500,000
    • Estimated additional company expenditure: $5,875,000
    • Total estimated expenditure for DSD Round 9 projects: $9,375,000
  • The support of local exploration companies to continue exploration at a time when global exploration capital is significantly restricted (employment will be tracked as best as possible throughout the program)
  • The delivery of new data, information and interpretation associated with each supported program to the broader exploration community (stimulating further exploration and investment).

More information about PACE Discovery Drilling 2016

Schedule for information and product delivery

Call for PACE Discovery Drilling 2016 project proposals29 March 2016
Closing date for project proposals29 April 2016
Announcement of successful proposalsAugust 2016
Summary employment figures from drilling programQ1 2017
Reporting date (latest date for final reports)2 June 2017
Funding agreement end date30 June 2017
Final data release from projects Q4 2017
Final employment figures related to the programQ4 2017