The New South Wales Government will make it easier for exploration companies to search for critical minerals by removing Mineral Allocation Areas (MAA) as part of its Critical Minerals and High-Tech Metals strategy.
The strategy is aimed at driving future investment in the critical minerals sector and establishing NSW as a global leader.
MAAs are areas where new exploration licence applications cannot be lodged without ministerial consent.
Deputy Premier Paul Toole said the decision to remove MAAs for Group 1 minerals such as copper, cobalt and zirconium means explorers can peg new ground and make new discoveries.
“We know we have the critical minerals, metals and rare earths that are going to be crucial to our future technologies such as advanced manufacturing, aerospace, ag-tech and renewables and now we’re making them easier to get out of the ground,” Toole said.
“Early this year we called on expressions of interest for operators to explore for these kinds of minerals in the Mineral Allocation Areas of Dubbo, Forbes, Mundi and north and south Cobar and we received a fantastic response.
“This land has been locked up for the government to collect data, but now we are opening it up so that we can further support these vital projects and I know industry will be really excited to start exploring further afield.”
Toole said the Critical Minerals and High-Tech Metals Strategy, which includes the establishment of an Australian-first Critical Minerals Hub in the Central West, will help to shape a new and vibrant future for regional communities.
“We have the strategy, the hub and we’ve lifted these Mineral Allocation Areas, providing explorers and investors with greater confidence that we are serious about promoting the growth of this sector,” he said.
“That not only means jobs in new regional projects but broader economic benefits from shoring up supply chains, as minerals are extracted, processed and then used by major sectors within Special Activation Precincts and in building the infrastructure required for our Renewable Energy Zones.”