The area of the North West to be released for exploration tender.
The area of the North West to be released for exploration tender.

The state government has announced that almost 20,000 square kilometres of Queensland will be released for mineral exploration. The details are in the Annual Exploration Program for 2017-18 released by Natural Resources and Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham this week.

Dr Lynham said exploration was the key to generate new economic activity, foster further economic growth and regional development, and create jobs for Queensland and four areas in the North West will be released via competitive tender for minerals exploration.

The exploration tender areas are located in the north-western part of the province, near the Century Mine, with potential for both copper/gold and lead/zinc mineralisation, and potentially rare earth elements.

The call for tender is from now to the end of the year, with tender close in March 2018 and the tender outcome by June 2018.

The document was also keen to talk up future exploration opportunities in the North West Minerals Province, which is recognised as a prospective area with the potential for further discoveries across a range of commodities.  

The report said it was a priority for the Queensland Government in the Strategic Blueprint for the North West Minerals Province, developed through a joint government–industry taskforce.

“Work will be undertaken to identify potential mineral deposits and develop a comprehensive and integrated understanding of the geology of the area, and funding will also be made available for explorers to target and test identified mineral prospects in frontier regions,” the document said.

It also talked about a remote area of western Queensland south-west of Mount Isa, which it said may be Queensland’s next frontier of resources exploration and investment.

“DNRM, in conjunction with The University of Queensland, has uncovered evidence of platinum and gold, as well as rare earth elements in extremely rare geological pipe structures,” the document said.

“Rare earth elements are a group of chemical elements that exhibit a range of special or unique properties, which are used in many modern and ‘green’ technologies such as hybrid vehicle batteries, LCD screens and fuel cells.”