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Blueprint lays out future for North West Minerals Province

Blueprint lays out future for North West Minerals Province

The Palaszczuk Government has put in place a blueprint to drive the next wave of resource development and new industry in Queensland’s North West Minerals Province.

State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham will today release the North West Minerals Province Blueprint, to stimulate exploration investment and identify new job-creating projects.

In a sign of confidence in the province’s prospectivity, one of the world’s biggest zinc players will seek out new prospects after winning exploration rights to land near Cloncurry.

Dr Lynham announced that a tender to explore 102km2 near Cloncurry had gone to Teck Australia, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Teck, one of the world’s biggest producers of base metals as well as specialty metals such as germanium, indium and cadmium.

“This all helps secure the next generation of resource development in the State’s north-west,” Dr Lynham said.

“The blueprint represents the combined efforts of government, industry and business stakeholders from across North West Queensland to facilitate a strong and prosperous future for this important region.”

The blueprint, underpinned by more than $39 million in the recent State Budget, is designed to build on existing measures, including the Resources Development (Royalties) Policy and its incentives for major resources projects in the Galilee and Surat Basins as well as in the North West Minerals Province.

The blueprint has a range of actions that aim to facilitate continued resource sector development, diversify the economy and create employment opportunities in other areas, like tourism, and engage the community in in building the future.

More than $30 million worth of measures to support the resources sector include:

  • large-scale geological surveys to identify new commercial deposits
  • a four-year exploration program to support exploration in greenfield and high-risk areas
  • more international promotion to investors including an annual investor forum in Townsville
  • red-tape reduction for explorers, including a hands-on team to help smaller miners get their projects over the investment line.

To help diversify the economy and protect against the swings in commodity prices, the blueprint funds a long-term regional economic diversification strategy, including an integrated agriculture plan and a visitor survey to identify drive, paleo and eco-tourism opportunities.

Dr Lynham said a blueprint implementation team would be set up in Mount Isa to coordinate effort, including running a North West Futures Forum later this year to bring experts and locals together to implement the blueprint.

Meanwhile, Teck Australia will start exploration work for zinc, lead and silver as soon as it is granted its exploration authority. The company must secure environmental approvals and complete native title negotiations with traditional owners before an exploration authority is granted.

A subsidiary of the world’s third largest producer of mined zinc and the operators of one of the biggest fully integrated zinc and lead smelting and refining facilities, Teck Australia will explore an area about 8km southwest of Cloncurry, with access to the 1000km rail line to the port of Townsville.

The latest development comes in the wake of base metals prices jumping over the six months to December, with zinc prices rising 35 per cent and lead by 32 per cent.

Dr Lynham said resources activity was showing green shoots of recovery with CuDeco’s Rocklands copper project ramping up, with the expected creation of 200 jobs, Altona’s Cloncurry copper project moving closer to development with nearly 600 construction and operational jobs and MMG’s Dugald River zinc project on track to create 400 jobs.

For more information on the blueprint visit: www.statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/nwmp

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