Unlocking the mineral potential of Australia

With the release of new data and four new Mineral Potential Maps, the Australian Government is supporting exploration for minerals such as zinc and associated critical minerals including cobalt, gallium, and germanium for use in renewable technologies.

This information, collected with the support of the Geological Survey of Western Australia, will facilitate exploration in underexplored regions of the country and will play a vital role in ensuring Australia’s base metal production and exports continue to meet growing global demand.

These resources, found under our feet across the country, are crucial to the manufacture of batteries, wind turbines, solar panels and other clean energy technologies. 

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Madeleine King said the information, developed as part of the Exploring for the Future program, is important to ensure Australia is well-positioned to take advantage of a booming worldwide clean-energy market and to secure our future economic prosperity.

“Thanks to years of hard work and geological research by Australian scientists, we are now able to better predict the location of resources, including critical minerals, that will be essential for the world to meet its net-zero emissions targets,” Minister King said.

“The newly released maps – along with reports and other useful data - build on the success of Geoscience Australia’s 2016 Mineral Potential Mapper project. This project was the catalyst for the discovery in 2020 of Chalice Mining’s Gonneville deposit in Julimar, Western Australia, the world’s largest nickel sulphide discovery in more than 20 years and the largest platinum group elements discovery in Australian history.

“The mineral potential mapping approach integrates decades of Geoscience Australia’s expertise with a wide range of geoscientific datasets to transform big data into predictive power, raising the prospect of more exciting discoveries.” 

“It is my hope that any future discoveries will continue to help not only nearby regional communities, but the whole country.

“Gaining a better understanding of our geology is key to the sustainable development of our resources and is integral to Australia’s- and the world’s transition to net zero emissions by 2050.” 

More national mineral potential assessments are being developed by Geoscience Australia over the coming months for sediment-hosted copper, another essential component in our journey to net zero.

“With 80 per cent of the Australian continent still underexplored, investment in precompetitive data through the Exploring for the Future program will continue to put a wealth of key information in the hands of governments and other important stakeholders, to better predict where natural resources will be, for the benefit of communities, industry and the environment.” 

The $225 million Exploring for the Future program has been gathering precompetitive data about Australia’s geology since 2016. Serving the interests of government, local decision-makers, investors, explorers and regional Australians, the program supports a strong economy, resilient society and sustainable environment for the benefit of Australians.

Find the national mineral potential for sentiment-hosted zinc-lead mineral systems in Australia here.

Find the sediment-hosted base metal mineral potential maps here.