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Plan for Accelerating Exploration (PACE) - advancing resource exploration and mining developments in South Australia

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About PACE

The Plan for Accelerating Exploration (PACE) has a core focus on economic stimulation, accessibility to land, development of sustainable exploration and mining, increasing cultural awareness and balancing development with the environment.

It has been the driving force behind growth in the mining sector in South Australia:

  • Leveraging existing successes in exploration
  • Focusing on new areas for exploration
  • Developing best practice mine development processes.

PACE builds on South Australia's world-class service to the mining sector, providing online geological and geophysical information to support the industry in exploration.

The initiative has a direct line of sight through the resources value chain, working to streamline the process of exploration to mine development, ensuring a timely and transparent approval process.

PACE and the programs and projects it funds directly support and influence:

  • The capture and interpretation of regional geophysical precompetitive data sets (including gravity, magnetic, radiometric and electromagnetic datasets)
  • Innovative geoscience projects within the Geological Survey of South Australia
  • Collaborative geoscientific programs with the industry (including drilling), universities and state and federal government agencies
  • The distribution of new and historic geoscientific data to the industry, investors and the general public
  • Development of streamlined, best practice mining approval and development processes
  • The delivery of workshops, guidelines and toolkits that engage the industry with regional communities and landholders
  • Continued cultural exchanges between the regional communities, the industry and government
  • The promotion of South Australia’s mineral wealth, both nationally and internationally.

The success of that investment is now internationally recognised and the model has been emulated by other jurisdictions in Australia and overseas. 

PACE was launched in April 2004 and quickly gained worldwide recognition as an extremely successful government mineral resources initiative.

Initially launched as a $22.5 million 5-year initiative, in 2007 PACE was extended by two years with an additional funding of $8.4 million bringing total funding to $30.9 million over 7 years (2004–2011). 

PACE Frontiers  - current generation 

PACE Frontiers is the current generation PACE initiative, focusing on reinvigorating the South Australian exploration industry, the engine room for new resources discovery and the feeder for the minerals and energy project pipeline.

PACE Frontiers began as a two year, $4 million initiative launched as part of the 2013-14 State Budget specifically focused on addressing the high investment risk and support needed for mineral exploration in two main types of frontiers:

  • Geological/geographical frontiers of South Australia where precompetitive geoscience data is typically sparse and regional mineral prospectivity is poorly established
  • Technical and knowledge frontiers in regions with a better established prospectivity but with challenging exploration settings, such as into and through the deep cover search space.

In 2014 a further $4 million was committed over four years to ensure critical programs operate until 2018.

The initiative will focus on precompetitive geoscience data collection in some of the state’s greatest geological, greenfields frontiers within the Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA) and the western Gawler Craton. 

Financial year funding allocation ($m)
PACE 2020Ongoing (from 13/14)
PACE Gawler Craton2012-132.0
PACE Frontiers2013-152.02.0
PACE Frontiers (extension)2014-
Total yearly PACE funding5.

More about PACE Frontiers and its work programs 

PACE Frontiers also addresses some of the feedback, issues and suggestions presented in the PACE Evaluation report completed in April 2014. 

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PACE 2020

In 2010 the announcement of PACE 2020 saw the evolution of PACE and the introduction of a broader range of programs. PACE 2020 diversified its suite of projects to extend further through the minerals value chain from exploration through to project development and mining.

PACE 2020 was valued at $10.2 million between 2010 and 2014. It focused on four key work programs specifically designed to drive forward mining development, and continued to act as the primary mechanism in building South Australia's international profile and strengthening investor confidence in the state's resources sector.

More about PACE 2020 and its work programs

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Strategic linkages 

PACE is a key element in meeting and exceeding the State Strategic Plan Targets for Mineral Exploration (41)Production and Processing (42) and Industry Collaboration (95).

PACE 2020 and PACE Frontiers are an integral component in meeting both:

  • Priority One of the South Australian Government’s Ten Economic Priorities – “Unlocking the full potential of South Australia’s resources, energy and renewable assets”, and
  • Priority Seven of the State Strategic Priorities – “Realising the benefits of the mining boom for all”.

The initiative also links South Australia directly into the National Mineral Exploration Strategy as well as the national UNCOVER initiative with major initiatives including:

  • Renewed commitment to generation and delivery of government-funded precompetitive geoscience from all jurisdictions
  • A refreshed approach to the promotion of Australia as the lead destination for investment in mineral exploration and mining through a mineral exploration investment attraction plan
  • A National Geoscience Research Initiative, which will be a cross-institutional research venture focused on delivering the applied geoscience needed for industry to better explore under the covered greenfield areas of Australia.


South Australia has a history spanning two decades of such targeted exploration initiatives including:

The PACE initiative followed from an Economic Development Board recommendation that in order to develop a truly significant minerals and energy sector the government needed to further invest in the sector, in order to bring forward or accelerate the rate of exploration leading to discovery.

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For more information, contact:

General Manager PACE
Miles Davies

+61 8 8463 3159
PACE Marketing

+61 8 8463 3012