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Wednesday, 13 November 1974
Page: 2302

Senator WALSH (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Minerals and Energy. I ask: Does the Bureau of Mineral Resources receive any compensation from private mining companies for its exploratory work? Did the BMR first strike phosphate rock at great depth in the Mount Isa area in Queensland and did its geologists predict with reasonable accuracy the area in which the phosphate rock was likely to appear on the surface? Did the company, Broken Hill South Ltd, later claim to have discovered the deposit?

Senator WRIEDT -I do not know whether Broken Hill South Ltd did in fact make that claim. I believe that some weeks ago there was some suggestion that Broken Hill South Ltd had discovered the deposits and that on the other hand the Bureau of Mineral Resources had originally discovered the deposits. The position is that the BMR does not receive any payment for the survey work it carries out. It does not do exploratory work in the sense that a normal private explorer does. It makes a geological survey of an area. The phosphate deposits in Queensland were discovered originally as a result of work done by an American geologist who was commissioned by the Bureau of Mineral Resources in 1966 to come to Australia. That was for the purpose of carrying out a survey on the phosphate potential of the whole of the Australian continent. It was on his recommendation that further drilling work was done by the BMR in that area. The subsequent exploratory work carried out by Broken Hill South Ltd was based on that work. So really it was a combination of efforts and a very good example of how governments and private enterprise can work in co-operation.

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