Government cash injection to aid next-gen mineral discoveries

Published Friday, 30 July, 2021 at 12:38 PM

Minister for Resources
The Honourable Scott Stewart

A Townsville-based explorer is among 16 companies being supported by the Palaszczuk Government’s exploration grant program to hunt down new economy minerals to create the next generation of resources jobs.

Speaking in Townsville today with NorthX exploration manager Stewart Parker, Resources Minister Scott Stewart said NorthX will drill for in-demand new economy minerals in traditional coal country near Capella in the Central Highlands.

“New economy minerals are powering the global energy transition, and we need to make sure Queensland is capitalising by allowing enterprising explorers to seek them out,” Mr Stewart said.

“Exploration is the backbone of growing the resources sector and creating jobs which is a key part of the Palaszczuk Government’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan.

“Demand is booming worldwide for minerals like cobalt, copper, rare earths and vanadium for renewable energy technology. 

“Exploration is where new resources projects and jobs start, and that’s why the Palaszczuk Government is providing a total of $2.5 million to explorers like NorthX.

“The resources sector is central to Queensland’s economy and will continue to be the backbone of Queensland’s economic recovery.”

The grants are backing exploration projects across regional Queensland, from Karumba in the north, to Mount Isa in the west, and Emerald to the south.

Mr Stewart said data collected from the projects would available via the Palaszczuk Government’s geological Open Data Portal, to encourage further exploration and mining investment in Queensland.

“Everything learned will be shared with the whole industry, which could lead to further exploration and more mineral mines, jobs and exports for Queensland,” he said.

The Collaborative Exploration Initiative grants are part of the Palaszczuk Government’s $23 million New Economy Minerals Initiative, which aims to support a sustainable pipeline of new economy minerals projects into the future.

NorthX’s Mr Parker said drilling programs and processing studies were very expensive for a small private company.

“Receiving the support of the Queensland Government has been critical to us progressing the project,” he said.

“This is the first discovery of rare earth minerals in this region and it is possibly one of Australia’s largest critical minerals discoveries.

“If we can confirm the grades and we can confirm how we can process it, these might be deposits that are mined for a century.”

Association of Mining and Exploration Companies Chief Executive Officer Warren Pearce said Queensland continues to offer a highly supportive environment for exploration and mining investment and the CEI grants will drive greater investment into the state.

“Attracting investment into mineral exploration is the catalyst for finding new resources and developing new mines,” Mr Pearce said.

Mr Stewart said exploration spending and employment in mineral mining was booming in Queensland.

“Exploration investment is up impressive 22.5 per cent to $705 million in the past 12 months, and exploration jobs have soared by 70.1 per cent to 19,586,” he said.

As well as NorthX, other companies and their projects are:

  • Multicom Resources Ltd is testing for mineralisation using a new magnetotelluric geophysical survey for the Yappar project, west of Croydon.
  • Strategic Energy Resources Limited will drill for base metals in an under-explored area and develop a model to interpret “basement geology” from geophysical data.
  • Chinova Resources will collect regional stream sediment data in the under-explored Selwyn region.
  • Mount Isa Mines Limited will undertake an airborne electromagnetic survey to generate high-quality data for geological and structural interpretation and targeting.
  • Red Metals will undertake a magnetotelluric geophysical survey north of Cloncurry.
  • Round Oak Minerals will undertake a collaborative hyperspectral survey to help define exploration targets southeast of Cloncurry.
  • Yappar Resources Pty Ltd will drill a potential large tin-silver deposit.
  • Ballymore Resources Limited will drill-test for a combination of metals in intrusive rock.
  • Longreach No.1 Pty Ltd will sample and study rock mineralogy in the Peak Range Volcanics to build up fundamental knowledge for future rare earth exploration.
  • Moho Resources Limited will conduct strategic drilling in North West Queensland to explore mineral prospectivity of basement rocks that contributed to geochemical anomalies in borewaters.
  • Heathgate Resources Pty Ltd will drill for rare earth at the base of the Georgina Basin sediment and conduct high-resolution gravity and magnetotelluric surveys.
  • Teck Australia Pty Ltd will drill for lead-zinc and copper south of Mount Isa.
  • Minotaur Operations Pty Ltd will use groundwater geochemistry to target hidden deposits under cover. The data will allow explorers to see through sediment cover and pick up potential mineralisation information in the basement rocks.
  • Thomson Resources Ltd will conduct a high resolution airborne magnetic survey west of Chillagoe to help define mineralisation targets
  • Heavy Metal Exploration Pty Ltd will collect and test surface samples in the Mt Cobalt corridor south of Cloncurry to determine the best exploration methods for this district.

Find out more about the Collaborative Exploration Initiative