Minerals exploration activity charging ahead across Victoria

The search for the materials needed to support the renewable energy transition and help make everyday technology products is hotting up across the state.

New Exploration Licences have now been approved to target minerals and metals including antinomy, zircon, copper and mineral sands.

Victoria has demonstrated resources of antinomy, titanium, zirconium and rare earth elements. There are also opportunities for other key raw materials including copper, high purity alumina and silica.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, exploration expenditure across Victoria for the year to March 2024 was over $130 million.

The Earth Resources Regulator has now approved 50 new Minerals Exploration Licences this financial year with six awarded so far in June covering ground across the state.

In central Victoria, fresh exploration activity in the Bendigo and Nagambie areas will target gold, silver and antinomy through three new licences.

In south-west Victoria, one new Minerals Exploration Licence near Casterton and another near Dartmoor will target mineral sands that could include titanium, zirconium and rare earth elements. Another new licence for an area near Mortlake will target copper and zinc as well as lead and gold.

Exploration is the first step in the search for minerals, licensees identify areas where resources may be located and assess if there is a commercial opportunity. Explorers look for evidence of minerals over a large area, then typically focus activities on a smaller area.

In western Victoria, a new Retention Licence near Maryborough will enable the assessment for zircon, gold, rutile and high purity quartz silica development. Retention Licences are the second phase of minerals development and allow explorers time to see if responsible development is feasible.

Minerals exploration, and any activity allowed under a Retention Licence, is very different to mining. If a commercially viable deposit is identified, a separate process toward mining involves rigorous environmental assessment and extensive local engagement.

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