Agriculture and mining are two of the largest contributors to the state’s economy.
But major political parties remain at odds with how the two should co-exist, and how much of the revenue generated from mining should be guaranteed for regional SA.
The Mining Act 1971 is under review with legislative changes to be made by the next parliament.
The state government is offering 10 per cent of mineral royalties to individual landowners who have a mining lease granted on their perpetual or freehold land.
But the Liberals, SA Best and the Australian Conservative Party favour money flowing back to all country communities, in a scheme similar to WA.
Australian Conservatives Party MLC Rob Brokenshire is excited the Royalties for Regions policy of 35pc they have long advocated for was “on the radar” of other parties and could become a reality.
“If we can get about $80 million to $100m a year of extra money into roads, health, education, sport and community development we will then see some exciting opportunities for country SA,” he said.
He says the state government’s sweetener will pit farmer against farmer.
“What happens in mining doesn’t happen on a title boundary,” he said.
Opposition agriculture spokesperson David Ridgway also questions the state government’s policy and sees potential rifts with neighbours affected by mining noise and dust, with no compensation.
“If a mining company buys the land and 10pc is going to the landholder – do the royalties then go back to the mining company if they own the land?” he said.
Mr Ridgway said the Liberals’ Royalties for Regions package, offering 30pc across a decade to plough into roads and regional infrastructure was the most generous. It will equate to at least $75 million a year.
He says the Liberals do not support a blanket ban on mining in arable areas of the state but will work closely with Grain Producers SA to ensure the review of the mining act restores the balance of power between farmers and mining.
In its election wishlist, GPSA has called for the needs of farmers to be adequately considered and interruptions to their businesses adequately compensated for. It also wants farmers to have access to government funded mining information.
SA Best has also pledged a Royalties for Regions package of 25pc.
"Many of our regional communities have had services ripped from them and centralised in the metropolitan area," SA Best leader Nick Xenophon said.
"SA Best will make it a priority to support growth – including strong population targets – and improve services that will help activate local economies.”
Plan for mining ban on ag land
The Australian Conservatives have called for the state’s arable land to be protected from invasive mining in a move announced this week by MLC Rob Brokenshire
“We are not anti-mining in 95 per cent of the state but we are saying let’s be serious about sustaining a strong economy that agriculture will continue to deliver," he said.
“That’s why we want 5pc of the state protected as a ‘no go’ zone,” he said.
He says exemptions should be made for road and building material but proposals for up to 300 metre deep open cut mines in the middle of prime farming land were threatening the sustainability of SA ag.
The aeromagnetic surveys show there is a mass of ore deposits in non-arable areas but many mining companies were targeting development closer to existing infrastructure to keep costs down.