Salt caverns and minerals across Australia unlock our nation’s hydrogen industry

Dept of Industry, Science and Resources

Australia has the right ingredients to become a global hydrogen superpower, according to new data from the Australian Government’s Exploring for the Future program.

Speaking ahead of Geoscience Australia’s inaugural Exploring for the Future Showcase, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Madeleine King said scientists had uncovered the potential for large-scale, underground storage of hydrogen in salt caverns across the country.

“We know that the technology exists to store hydrogen underground and thanks to this work we now also know that Australia has the right geology to support the development of an economically viable hydrogen industry on our own soil,” Minister King said.

“Geoscience Australia has uncovered potential for the development of multiple caverns underground in salt deposits across the Canning Basin in Western Australia, the Adavale Basin in Queensland and the offshore Polda Basin in South Australia.

“A single large salt cavern could provide the same amount of energy storage as Snowy Hydro 2.0 with multiple caverns this size possible in the same area.

“Hydrogen is a clean fuel and large-scale cost-effective storage of hydrogen will be essential in achieving our long-term goals for the future.

“This new information captured by the Exploring for the Future program and other major discoveries demonstrate Australia’s monumental potential as a hydrogen superpower.

Using Geoscience Australia data, Chalice Mining, through their Julimar project, have uncovered a massive supply of palladium, platinum, nickel, copper, cobalt, and gold just 70 kilometres northeast of Perth in the Gonneville deposit.

“Some of the minerals found in this deposit are essential to generating hydrogen, so it is fantastic that the world’s biggest discovery of such minerals in the last 20 years was in our own backyard in Western Australia,” Minister King said.

“An independent assessment of the impact of the Julimar project will be released at the showcase, highlighting the immense value of the work Geoscience does in supporting discoveries like Gonneville.”

The hydrogen salt cavern study and Julimar impact assessment are just some of the many announcements that will be shared as part of the 2022 Exploring for Future Showcase.

The $225 million Exploring for the Future program has been gathering precompetitive data about Australia’s geology since 2016.

It puts key information in the hands of Australians, creating jobs for regional communities and enabling landholders, industry and government to make informed decisions.

“As a government, we are dedicated to supporting a sustainable, long-term future for Australia through an improved understanding of the nation’s mineral, energy and groundwater resource potential,” Minister King said.

“We have already seen great value from precompetitive geoscience that has come from investments like the Exploring for the Future program, which identify areas of rich resource potential thereby decreasing the risks and accelerating exploration across Australia.

“This work is vital to Australia’s low-emissions future.”

The virtual Exploring for the Future showcase is on from 8-10 August 2022. Program and registration links are at ga.gov.au/showcase.

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