Vic boosts exploration with latest land release

Exploration Toolkit

Victoria’s exploration sector is expected to grow in the coming years, as 11,000 square kilometres of land is released to the public in the state’s west.

The final stage of the Stavley land release process will open areas of the state to exploration for rare earths and copper for use in renewable energy such as wind turbine magnets and batteries.

Exploration projects across the state in gold, base metals, lithium and mineral sands generated over $200 million in investment for Victoria in 2021, an increase of 44 per cent on 2020.

“Exploration is critical to the development of a pipeline of minerals projects to create high paying regional jobs for geologists, engineers, trades roles and drilling assistants and to help drive economic growth and diversity in regional communities,” Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) executive director James Sorahan said.

“Explorers will have to apply for licences through the normal process and abide by the Exploration Code of Conduct and meet community expectations on consultation and environmental conditions.”

Prior to undertaking any prospecting or mining activities, an explorer must negotiate a land access arrangement with the landholders.

Licensees also have a duty to consult with the community and must meet environmental standards.

Victoria’s Aboriginal cultural heritage protection framework provides significant legal protections for tangible and intangible heritage, and under the framework Traditional Owners can make decisions regarding their heritage in consultation with land use proponents.

“Well-planned exploration projects have little or no lasting impact on the environment and impose minimal disruption to other land users and the community,” according to files from the MCA.

“When exploration is successful, there is a separate, comprehensive environmental and social approval process involving community input for any proposed mine.

“Minerals exploration is a scientific process that is low impact, short term and only rarely leads to a mining operation.”

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