Exploration using desktop methods has unearthed almost 600 potential deposits of high-demand new economy minerals across Queensland.
The joint project with the University of Queensland’s Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI) is also creating a free digital tool for explorers to identify new priority areas for new economy minerals, such as cobalt, needed for renewable and advanced technology.
Queensland’s Department of Resources and SMI have worked together for 18 months compiling and analysing data for the free digital tool, which will enable explorers to log on and find out where minerals like tin, tungsten, silica, rare earths, and cobalt can be discovered.
The project is part of the government’s five-year New Economy Minerals Initiative that aims to develop, promote, and understand the state’s new economy mineral wealth and potential across a broad region from Mt Isa to Townsville.
Queensland Minister for Resources Scott Stewart said the half-million-dollar project had identified nearly 600 new mineral occurrences, including six possible rare earth systems.
Stewart said: “Unearthing potential new deposits could mean new projects [and] new jobs, which is an important part of the Palaszczuk Government’s economic recovery plan from COVID-19.
“Queensland is rich in new economy minerals, but there’s a lot of time, effort and money that goes into exploration and proving-up resources before new projects and jobs ever result.
“The Palaszczuk Government’s $23 million New Economy Minerals Initiative is simplifying and supporting this initial legwork to help get more projects and jobs off the ground.”
The exploration project coincides with new Australian Bureau of Statistics figures which show rising exploration investment in Queensland.
More than $706 million was invested in exploration in the 12 months to 30 June this year, up 10 per cent on the previous year and up 60 per cent on the same period three years ago.