Increasing demand for base metals should drive excitement among explorers in a key 1,100-square-kilometre chunk of land in Queensland’s north-west, the state’s mining minister has said.
With the latest exploration tender for Queensland’s North West Minerals Province due to close on May 24, Queensland mines minister Anthony Lynham said bids should be fuelled by a hot market for metals like lithium, cobalt and graphite.
“The increasing demand for these rare metals offers significant industry and employment opportunities for Queenslanders and helps position Queensland as a key supplier to the hi-tech industry globally,” Lynham said.
“I say to resource companies, step up now, because this north-west tender could open the door to the next pipeline of mega projects.”
Lynham stressed the importance the Palaszczuk Government continues to place on mining and new exploration, pointing out metals exploration spending in Queensland has increased 58% to $47.3 million over the last 12 months.
“The most recent ABS data shows Queensland’s resources sector directly employed 59,000 people in February 2018 – 3,000 more than last February,” he said.
“The coal and metals industry have been primarily responsible for this increase in jobs, which has come on the back of higher production from existing and new mines. Over the past six months, we’ve seen higher global coal prices with several mines expanding production, including Realm Resources re-opening a second pit at its Foxleigh mine near Middlemount.
“The Queensland metals industry is also experiencing a period of strong global prices, with base metal prices of copper, zinc and lead prices up significantly.”