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The minerals industry value-chain represents the stages and processes that a minerals project will go through to produce mineral products. Each stage represents a value-add on the previous and there are opportunities to invest at each of the major stages:

Stage/Process Investment opportunities
Geoscience Research and development (R&D)
Exploration Grass roots exploration, joint venture partner other agreements, R&D, Mining Equipment, Technology & Services (METS)
Developing projects Partnership agreements, early offtake agreements for product, R&D, METS
Mining Mergers, acquisitions, product purchase and sale, R&D productivity, METS
(ore purchase and product upgrade for premium sales value)
R&D productivity and saleability, METS

In South Australia the minerals industry value-chain is supported by the ongoing framework of the South Australian Government providing:

  • a knowledge base of the state’s mineral potential and administration of trusted regulation
  • several strategic initiatives to assist processes at critical stages of the value chain expediting best quality outcomes and benefits to industry proponents and South Australians.

Mineral exploration

The mineral exploration cycle

View 'Mineral Exploration Cycle' full page

Opportunities for investment include grass roots exploration as a tenement holder and/or operator or joint venture partner.

Companies holding exploration licences with high potential but limited funding may be seeking investment partners to progress projects.

Exploration companies are able to hold more than one exploration licence (EL) in different parts of the state and can be in various stages of exploration at the same time (e.g. an exploration company may be conducting low impact activities on one EL and drilling on another).

At each stage of the exploration process exploration companies will provide progress reports to their boards and shareholders. They may also seek to secure additional funding from the financial market to conduct further exploration activities.

There is no specific timeline for each stage of the exploration cycle. If all steps are positive, the market is positive and shareholders are continuing to invest, it is possible a prospective find may reach the point of mining within six or seven years from discovery. However, the time from initial discovery to a potential mine depends on numerous factors, making it very difficult to determine when, or if, mining may begin.

Developing projects

There are opportunities for investors to work with companies on more advanced exploration and developing projects by forming joint venture partnerships or product offtake agreements and contracts.

Major operating/approved mines

Major operating mines generally have already established offtake agreements and term contracts to supply products. However, supply and service companies are able to find opportunities particularly with companies that have approval to mine but are still establishing finances and their supply chain.


Opportunities exist to work with significant on and off-site mineral refineries that import local and interstate ore and scrap metal for processing.

Service and supply

There are also opportunities for investment in research and development (R&D) and in service and supply chain (METS) industries in South Australia

The Mining Industry Participation Office (MIPO) has been established with the Department of State Development to work with companies to further opportunities in this area.

For more information, contact:

Peta Abbot
Principal Minerals Industry Analyst
Phone: +61 8 8463 3066