The Hon. TONY KELLY: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Mineral Resources. What support is being given to encourage further mineral development in the State's Far West?
The Hon. EDDIE OBEID: The convenor of Country Labor has had a continued interest in regional New South Wales. The great mining centre of Broken Hill has produced over 200 million tonnes of silver, lead and zinc while injecting $70 billion into our economy. We are keen to see this tremendous mining area continue to support the Far West community. The New South Wales Government's strong support for the Broken Hill community is well-known. Recent proposals to develop that area's mineral resources are actively supported by this Government. These proposals give the community every reason to be optimistic. Developing this area's vast mineral resources is good news for the State's Far West. It will create jobs and inject money into the local economy.
Just last week there was more good news for Broken Hill. The New South Wales Government granted the mineral sands company BeMaX Resources development approval for a $70 million mineral separation plant. This single project would have a major impact on families in the Broken Hill area. The proposed BeMaX open cut mine and separation plant could create more than 300 jobs during its construction. Every year more than $36 million could be injected into local businesses in the Broken Hill area. That is certainly a secure future for local families. This proposed project is yet another step in developing the area's mineral resources. With Perilya Ltd taking control of the former Pasminco mine, Broken Hill's legacy of mining is set to continue for many years to come. The New South Wales Government has committed $60 million to encouraging investment and exploration of our State's minerals industry.
Last month I launched almost $5 million worth of New South Wales Government information on mineral resources to potential worldwide investors. It included new information about Broken Hill's resources, which was gathered last March when the New South Wales Government provided $100,000 for a hyperspectral survey of the area. The survey set new records, being the largest of its type ever flown in Australia. We now have so much information about this area that it would fill 800 CD-ROMs.
Later this month the New South Wales Government will release more geoscience information about Broken Hill. The Government has also spent $35,000 studying the area's potential for local gold and copper. While Broken Hill is known for its silver, lead and zinc ore, we are now looking for copper and gold deposits similar to those around Mt Isa. This new search is because New South Wales Government studies have found rocks similar in age to those in the Mt Isa region, where important copper and gold deposits have been found.
I am pleased to advise the House that further information will be released to industry on CD-ROM later this year. In the nearby Koonenberry areas, rock formations are similar to mines in western Tasmania and Stawell in Victoria. Our support for investment means we are also undertaking joint studies with other scientific agencies. The New South Wales Government is providing $250,000 a year for a joint study with the CSIRO, Australian universities and other governments looking at the area's mineral resources.
The New South Wales Government is actively seeking investment in our far-western mineral resources. We are supporting the continued mining of Broken Hill's traditional silver, lead and zinc mining. We are encouraging development of new mineral deposits such as the Murray Basin's mineral sands, and we are continuing to study the area's potential for exciting new discoveries which will attract further exploration and investment. That is tremendous news for the State's Far West. [Time expired.]
The Hon. TONY KELLY: I ask a supplementary question. I ask the Minister to elucidate his answer.
The Hon. EDDIE OBEID: I thank the Hon. Tony Kelly for wanting to know more about what we are doing in the Far West—in contrast to members of the Opposition, who were not even keen to listen. We all know that Broken Hill has contributed a lot to the Australian economy. The Opposition did not even have the courtesy to listen. The Government is committed to further exploration in the Broken Hill area and the Far West. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition has not bothered to ask me a question this session.
The Hon. Dr Brian Pezzutti: Point of order: The question asked the Minister to elucidate his answer, which I presume means to throw some light upon it. The Minister has not answered the question; he is not giving a relevant answer. I ask you to direct that his answer be relevant.
The PRESIDENT: Order! There is no point of order. The Minister may continue if he wishes.
The Hon. Dr Brian Pezzutti: Madam President—
The PRESIDENT: Order! Do not canvass the President's ruling. I have warned the Hon. Dr Brian Pezzutti on many occasions not to use points of order simply to make debating points.
The Hon. EDDIE OBEID: I acknowledge that the Hon. Dr Brian Pezzutti is still awake. If he is awake, he interjects. When he is asleep, we hear him snoring. I thank him for his interest in this issue. My comment was that the Opposition did not even bother to listen to details on a very important issue—that is, how much this Government is spending on trying to locate new mineral resources in the Far West.