The North West Minerals Province has the potential to become the ‘cobalt capital’ of Australia.
Hot on the heels of the Palaszczuk Government’s half a billion-dollar Budget announcement to boost freight exports on the Mt Isa line, Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the NWMP could become a key global supplier of the mineral, which is critical in the production of mobile phones, wind turbine generators and electric cars.
Speaking in Mt Isa, Dr Lynham said cobalt was a key ingredient for the next phase of the renewable revolution.
“The Queensland Government’s core library at Mount Isa supports industry in providing essential geological information to help explore for these essential metals,” Dr Lynham said.
“It is exciting to see this core library being used in conjunction with the Geological Survey of Queensland’s geo-science database, offering physical and digital information to help find more of these valuable commodities in Queensland.
The Palaszczuk Government announced freight charges will be discounted, and a new container terminal built at the Port of Townsville to support an already beefed up five-year line maintenance budget to support North Queensland’s resource industry.
The investment is squarely aimed at promoting mining and exploration in the state’s north west.
The Palaszczuk Government will contribute $30 million towards the freight terminal’s construction, with the Port of Townsville providing the remaining $18 million.
A further $80 million dollars over four years will be provided to reduce rail access charges on the Mount Isa Line, to drive the shift from road to rail.
The North West Mineral Province contains about 75 per cent of the state’s base metal and minerals, including copper, lead, zinc, silver, gold, cobalt and phosphate deposits.
“To meet the world’s thirst for cobalt and other battery minerals the Palaszczuk Government is investing $39 million in the Strategic Blueprint for Queensland’s North West Minerals Province.
“This is in addition to the $3.6 million we’ve invested in the Collaborative Exploration Initiative (CEI) to help deliver significant economic benefits to Queensland for decades to come.
“Our CEI grants program from the last two round has helped 21 companies, such as Aeon Metals, with funding. CEI has been run for over a decade to help meet growing global demand for the battery minerals and rare earths in this highly prospective region.
Aeon Metals Exploration Manager, Dan Johnson said their flagship asset and highest priority tenement was the 100 per cent owned Walford Creek Project located approximately 350km north west of Mount Isa.
“This project is an advanced world-class copper-cobalt project and one of the highest-grade significant cobalt deposits in Australia,” Mr Johnson said.
“Exploration is a high-risk, high-cost activity and the Queensland Government’s support was a big help, as it alleviated some of the risk for us to try innovative approaches such as seismic surveys in new areas.”
Dr Lynham said Aeon was well-placed to become Queensland’s next big success story.
“Our faith in their innovative approach is paying off.
“Resources is one of our most important export sectors and we want to encourage the world to invest in Queensland.
Just three weeks ago the Palaszczuk Government re-signed an MOU with Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) highlighting Queensland has a major role and future in the resources sector.