The Queensland Government has awarded 16 companies with a share in over $2.5 million for the fifth round of its Collaborative Exploration Initiative (CEI).
A total of 18 projects across 16 Queensland companies received funding which aims to develop the state’s showing in new economy minerals.
Managing director for grant recipient Red Metals, Rob Rutherford, said lead times from discovery to development stretched between five to 20 years.
“Therefore, the urgency for new mineral discoveries in Queensland has never been more imperative,” Rutherford said.
“Exploration drilling is a high-risk, high-reward endeavour essential to discover the next generation of mines in Queensland and the CEI grant encourages Red Metal to test higher-risk plays, trial new targeting concepts and drill in under-explored frontier regions.”
Resources Minister Scott Stewart said exploration was imperative to Queensland’s economic growth.
“New economy minerals are powering the global energy transition and we need to make sure Queensland is capitalising by allowing enterprising explorers to seek them out,” Stewart said.
“Exploration is the backbone of growing the resources sector and creating jobs which is a key part of the Palaszczuk Government’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan.
“Demand is booming worldwide for minerals like cobalt, copper, rare earths and vanadium for renewable energy technology.”
The Minister spoke in Townsville with NorthX exploration manager Stewart Parker, whose company received funding to drill for critical minerals in traditional coal country near Capella in the Central Highlands..
“Receiving the support of the Queensland Government has been critical to us progressing the project,” Parker said.
“This is the first discovery of rare earth minerals in this region, and it is possibly one of Australia’s largest critical minerals discoveries.
“If we can confirm the grades and we can confirm how we can process it, these might be deposits that are mined for a century.”
Another recipient was Moho Resources, which owns a 70 per cent interest in the Empress Springs tenements joint venture, in partnership with an IGO subsidiary.
A total of $200,000 was allocated to the joint venture for a geochemical drilling program which will follow up a previous program conducted in collaboration with the CSIRO and IGO.
Stewart said the state’s investment in exploration continued to show plenty of promise for the future of the state’s economy.
“Exploration investment is up an impressive 22.5 per cent to $705 million in the past 12 months and exploration jobs have soared by 70.1 per cent to 19,586,” he said.