Queensland is poised to become a global leader in the supply of a raft of key minerals needed to create renewable energy, says Queensland Exploration Council chair Kim Wainwright.
Speaking in the lead-up to the QEC’s annual exploration forum in Brisbane on February 19, Ms Wainwright said local exploration companies were busier than ever across all commodity sectors.
“We are seeing renewed exploration activity in the gas industry in particular, in fact, the September 2020 quarter was the highest exploration expenditure we had seen since 2015 levels,” she said.
“For critical minerals, activity has not really slowed at all.
“The State Government is eager to facilitate exploration development and investors are keen to get on board with the minerals that are leading technological advancements in renewable energy, battery storage and defence systems to name a few.”
Ms Wainwright said coal remained the leading resource target in Queensland in terms of exploration expenditure.
“With coal prices now back at pre-COVID levels, this is further stimulating investment in coal exploration projects,” she said.
Ms Wainwright said Queensland was rich in new economy minerals such as cobalt, copper, vanadium, magnesite and bauxite.
“These in-demand commodities are abundant in Queensland’s north-west and north-east regions so there is a keen appetite to learn more about how to responsibly and economically explore and develop these deposits,” she said.
“The future of hydrogen and how the State Government plans to encourage investment in this emerging low carbon fuel source is another hot topic which we know will attract a lot of interest at next week’s forum.”
This year the QEC’s Exploration Initiatives for the Future forum will showcase ‘war stories’ from four explorers who received highly sought after grants under the State Government’s Collaborative Exploration Initiative (CEI).
To qualify for up to $200,000 in exploration funding, grant recipients are required to share their learnings with the industry to enhance collaboration, innovation and outcomes.
Ms Wainwright said it was vital for explorers to learn from each other’s successes and failures so they could adapt and extend their own exploration and development work.
Speakers at next Friday’s forum include Australian Hydrogen Council deputy chair and Origin Energy general manager for future fuels Felicity Underhill on the future of hydrogen and the Origin Energy Hydrogen Project.
Senior Research Fellow Dr Anita Parbhakar-Fox from UQ’s Sustainable Minerals Institute will present on the geometallurgy of mine waste and critical minerals.
To register for the QEC’s one-day forum at the Stamford Plaza, Brisbane click here.