The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has welcomed a $13.8 million five-year Queensland Government package to encourage new discoveries of critical minerals to attract more overseas investment, drive more international trade and create more local jobs and economic prosperity.
QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane, who is in Washington DC as part of a delegation led by Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan to further develop the US-Australia trading partnership on critical minerals, said the package announced by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was based on consultation with the industry and would hit the right mark at the right time.
“Queensland has globally-significant reserves of copper, nickel, zinc, graphite, and molybdenum and major deposits of cobalt, rhenium, scandium, tantalum, niobium, lithium, rare earths and vanadium,” he said.
Mr Macfarlane said the funding would including $9 million to unearth more and better geological information to help the industry identify new products and $4.8 million to re-examine old mine tailing and core samples for these minerals.
“These are the key areas QRC and the Queensland Exploration Council urged the Government to focus on and they have delivered. We thank the Premier, the Deputy Premier, State Development Minister Cameron Dick and Mines Minister Anthony Lynham for the commitment of confidence into this growing sector,” he said.
“We also acknowledge the strong representations from the Australian Workers’ Union to encourage additional investment in exploration. The AWU, like QRC, knows the investment in exploration delivers the new discoveries and the new jobs,” he said.
“Mount Isa itself owes its existence to the discoveries of the lone prospector John Campbell Miles in 1923. It would be fitting if, through this funding, Queenslanders could welcome major new discoveries to celebrate the centenary of those original discoveries.
Mr Macfarlane said the package followed the Government’s earlier commitment to upgrade the Townsville to Mount Isa rail line and commit $80 million to subsidise commercial freight users on the Mount Isa line over four years.