New investment will further open North West Minerals Province

The hunt is on for resources jobs of the future, as the Palaszczuk Government sinks $13.8 million into finding the minerals needed for advanced electronics and renewable technologies.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the investment package would open up the untapped ‘new economy’ minerals bounty in North Queensland and foster new discoveries, projects and jobs.

“Global demand is set to soar for cobalt and rare earth minerals needed for wind turbines, generators and batteries and copper needed for electric cars and the North is rich in these new economy mineral,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“Our five-year package aims to encourage new exploration, re-investigate old mines and probe the geological information government holds already.

“Some of these new-age minerals are found with more traditional minerals – like rare earths with phosphate – which is why we will be looking at some of our old mines for new opportunity.”

Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad said today’s funding announcement builds on the commitments made in this year’s budget to reduce rail access charges on the Townsville to Mount Isa Rail Line and build a new a new common user rail freight terminal to handle freight more efficiently at the Port of Townsville.

“We are delivering a complete pit to port package for the North West Minerals Province because we want to create more jobs in the resources sector,” Ms Trad said.

“Industry has backed our plan because we are doing what it takes to grow jobs in the region.”

“We aren’t just talking about the North West Mineral Province, we are making the North West an investment and jobs powerhouse.”

The package announced today comprises:

  • $4.8 million to re-examine old mine tailings and core samples for new age minerals
  • $9 million to unearth more and better geological information to help industry identify new projects, including $3.5 million in industry grants over five years for new and innovative exploration activities

Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the information drive will use a range of exploration techniques, including aerial magnetic and gravity surveys, as well as encouraging exploration companies to explore promising areas themselves with the extra grants.

“The findings from our own surveys and studies will encourage further exploration and the eventual future development of new mining projects in Queensland,” Dr Lynham said.

“This is a practical way to help industry to explore Queensland further, and for new minerals, focussing on a massive corridor reaching from the west of Mount Isa to Townsville.

“The resources sector is already a massive contributor to Queensland’s regional economies.

“Over the year to August 2019, Queensland’s minerals exports topped $10.5 billion, supporting more than 19,000 mineral mining jobs.

“The demand for jobs in the resources sector is already on the rise and this investment will drive the evolution of projects and jobs of the future delivering minerals of the future.”

The new funding builds on previous commitments including $39 million in the 2017 budget for the North West Queensland Economic Diversification strategy, $380 million of previous funding commitments for the Mount Isa Rail Line and $80 million to reduce rail access charges on the Townsville to Mount Isa Rail Line, bringing the total commitment to initiatives that support the North West Minerals Province and economic diversification to $557.3 million.

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