Mining and Heavy Industries

Queensland opens door for north-west base metals exploration

Zinc is one commodity highlighted by Wood Mackenzie. Photo: Xstrata

The Queensland Government will open a global tender process for miners looking to explore for base metal deposits in the state’s north-west.

Minister for natural resources and mines Dr Anthony Lynham, who says the region is the world’s richest base metal region, said tenders would open this Friday for exploration of 102 square kilometres in the North West Minerals Province, with the potential for copper, gold, lead and zinc.

“Queensland is one of the world’s leading destinations for mining and resources investment, and exploration is the first step towards future jobs and regional economic development,” Dr Lynham said.

“Friday’s tender is a dual first for Queensland: the first land release in Queensland’s first annual exploration program.”

The minister insisted a successful tenderer will be required to meet environmental conditions and negotiate land access and compensation agreements with landholders, including relevant native title, before exploration can commence.

Tenders close on February 2 next year, and a decision is expected in the first half of 2017.

The inaugural exploration program was announced in July.

It also includes 451 square kilometres for petroleum and gas exploration near Surat and Injune to be released by the end of the year, as well as 273 square kilometres for coal exploration between Middlemount and Blackwater in the Bowen Basin in April 2017.

Dr Lynham said the exploration forward plan is designed to provide certainty and opportunity to industry, investors and local communities.

“An annual forward program will allow resources explorers and miners to plan ahead for future opportunities,” Dr Lynham said.

“It’s critical that we continue to encourage exploration and foster the green shoots of investment appearing in the resources sector.”

Queensland’s exploration concessions provide a 50% expenditure concession for mineral and coal explorers, and as of September 1, explorers are expected to receive more than $30 million in financial relief over the next two years, the minister said.

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