The Federal Government has congratulated itself for the successful Federal Exploration Development Incentive (EDI).

The scheme has seen significant industry interest in its first year, handing out $70 million to dozens of mining firms for greenfields exploration.

The Federal Government’s money has already brought significant benefits for company shareholders.

Eighty-four applications were made for a slice of the $100 million EDI fund, even down to small exploration companies with no taxable income.

Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg says the government is happy to prop up the industry when commodity prices slump.

“Throughout this period of lower commodity prices, the Government remains focused on implementing the initiatives and working with industry to ensure Australia’s resources sector remains strong going forward,” he said.

Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) chief Simon Bennison said the scheme would bring benefits to mining company shareholders.

“The announcement today by the Assistant Treasurer and the Minister for Resources that 84 mineral exploration companies have been successful in the first year of operation of the programme is great news,” he told reporters this week.

“It vindicates the commitment and drive by AMEC to get the Coalition Government to commit to, and then implement the EDI, commencing 1 July 2014.

A further $35 million is expected to become available to eligible mineral exploration companies later this year, with another $40 million slated for the 2016/17 financial year.

“The EDI will play a part in stimulating increased investment in mineral exploration in Australia, and lead to discovering the mines of tomorrow,” Bennison said.

“The subsequent social and economic benefits for the nation will be immense.

“AMEC has been working closely with the Australian Tax Office and the Department of Industry and Science in order to review the operation of the EDI, and looks forward to some of the initial administrative issues being remedied during a broader review.”