New land is being released for exploration in North West Queensland in a corridor flagged as having potential for copper, gold, lead, zinc and rare earths.
Natural Resources and Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham announced that an area of 102 sq km would be released for competitive tender over the next couple of months.
“Exploration is the lifeblood of resource development, and the North West Minerals Province is a rich prospective area with potential for discoveries across a range of commodities,” he said.
Dr Lynham is in Mount Isa today with industry, government and regional leaders for the second meeting of the North-West Taskforce.
The taskforce, established by industry and government in 2015, is developing recommendations on how to tackle the impact of the current commodity price slump on North West Queensland communities.
It includes representatives from the Queensland Resources Council, resources companies and associated businesses, economic peak bodies including the Mount Isa to Townsville Economic Development Zone (MITEZ) and Townsville Enterprise, and local government.
Dr Lynham said today’s announcement was a preview of the government’s annual exploration program for 2016-17, to be released in full next month.
“For the first time, this exploration program has involved early, extensive consultation with stakeholders, including traditional owners and landholders,” he said.
“I’ve listened to industry and I have listened to the community. They want clear information early in the process and that’s what’s happening.
“The program will help resource companies plan their exploration programs and provide additional opportunities for promoting Queensland at a global scale.”
The full exploration program will provide advance notice of areas that will be released for competitive tender for minerals, coal, and petroleum and gas exploration over the next year.
Before being granted an exploration authority, preferred tenderers will be required to meet environmental and other approval requirements including land access and compensation agreements and where applicable complete native title negotiations with traditional owners.
Dr Lynham said the Palaszczuk Government continued to support the resources industry in last week’s State Budget by a continuing royalties freeze, maintaining the lowest payroll tax rate in the country and investing heavily in innovation.