Queensland in prime position to supply world with critical minerals for renewables

  • Posted 11 February, 2021
  • Media Releases

11 February 2021


Photo – Kim Wainwright, Chair, Queensland Exploration Council, pictured with Xplore colleague Candice Adolfsen.

Queensland is poised to become a global leader in the supply of a raft of key minerals needed to create renewable energy, Queensland Exploration Council (QEC) chair Kim Wainwright said today.

Speaking in the lead-up to the QEC’s annual exploration forum in Brisbane on 19 February, 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 Queensland is 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.”

World-leading mineral geology researcher Professor Rick Valenta from The University of Queensland’s Sustainable Minerals Institute and QEC Research Working Group Chair today echoed Ms Wainwright’s comments, saying it’s an exciting time for the state’s minerals industry with never before released Queensland geological data scheduled to be publicly available later this year.

“This data will help us better understand and define Queensland’s resource deposits and potentially uncover hidden exploration opportunities,” Mr Valenta said.

Ms Wainwright said coal remains 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.

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.

“By its very nature, exploration is speculative and can be exciting, but it can also be extremely stressful and prohibitively expensive with sometimes nothing to show for your efforts,” she said.

“Through the QEC, which is the Queensland Resources Council’s exploration arm, we’re creating a dynamic space for people and companies to communicate and collaborate so our industry can play a lead role in providing new economy minerals to meet the world’s future renewable energy needs.”

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; Aeon Metals’ Exploration Manager Dan Johnson will speak about Aeon’s progress and results achieved as a result of a CEI grant; and 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.


Media contact: Caroline Morrissey 0417 770 893