The production of wind turbines, solar cells, batteries and high-tech devices like mobile phones offers opportunities for Queensland’s resources sector. ‘Critical minerals’ like copper, cobalt and graphite are critical to these products and place Queensland in a unique position to contribute to the developing high-tech, low carbon economy.
In order to develop a sustainable pipeline of critical minerals projects into the future, the Queensland Government is investing in multiple areas to ensure the state is well-placed to capture these opportunities.
Existing actions include:
- The Queensland Government is investing in exploration activities to improve the scientific understanding of geosciences data needed by industry to help locate and define deposits for future production, through the 5-year critical minerals initiative.
- The Queensland Government’s collaborative exploration grants support Queensland’s resource exploration companies to grow, discover and secure future resources for the benefit of the state. Under current rounds of the grants scheme, this prioritises the discovery of critical minerals.
- The Queensland Mining Equipment, Technology and Services 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan supports growth of the sector. Currently it employs 20,000 people across Queensland, with $7 billion revenue and $2.5 billion in value add for our economy.
- Under the critical minerals initiative, Queensland Government is partnering with the Sustainable Minerals Institute at the University of Queensland to develop methods for extracting rare earth elements sustainably. This project aims to develop economic and environmentally sustainable extraction methods for rare earth elements. This could result in the commercialisation of these techniques, creating new jobs in and around a Queensland-based processing facility.
- The critical minerals initiative has additional components which examine how circular economy principles can be applied in mining, particularly in the recycling and re-processing of mine waste by identifying accumulation of critical minerals that may have been ignored by previous miners.
- The Queensland Biofutures 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan continues to drive the development of the biofutures industry.
- The Queensland Hydrogen Industry Strategy highlights the Queensland Government’s commitment to facilitate the growth of a clean hydrogen industry.
- The Strategic Blueprint for Queensland’s North West Minerals Province describes a range of actions to facilitate resources sector development in the region, diversify the region’s economy to create job opportunities, and deliver integrated services to the region’s businesses and community.
- The Queensland Resource Industry Development Plan sets out a long-term vision to ensure the future of the resources industry recognising the global shift to low carbon.
Climate action projects
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Sun Metals Corporation will establish a renewable hydrogen plant at its zinc refinery in Townsville with funding of up to A$5 million in funding through the Queensland Government’s Hydrogen Industry Development Fund.
The Geological Survey of Queensland has completed a high-resolution airborne magnetic survey north of Mount Isa, following known trends of cobalt mineralisation associated with major copper deposits in the region.
Queensland Nitrates (QNP), an Ammonium Nitrate Manufacturer in Moura, Central Queensland, and their project partners Neoen, Advisian and ARENA conducted a feasibility study using green hydrogen to produce ammonia at their existing manufacturing plant.
This initiative is crucial to the future development of an entire Rare Earth Elements (REE) supply chain; by demonstrating an economic and environmentally sustainable extraction method for REE, numerous exploration-stage REE projects will become viable.
Government-owned Stanwell Corporation is working with Iwatani Corporation of Japan to develop a significant green hydrogen export project at a land site west of Gladstone.
Jobs and skills for Queensland’s future
Existing initiatives to help create jobs and skill Queenslanders for future opportunities in the resources sector include:
- The Queensland Government has invested $30 million into regional manufacturing hubs in Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton and Gladstone. Each hub will provide a place for local manufacturing businesses to receive expert advice and support to transition to advanced manufacturing through world-leading technologies.
- The Strategic Blueprint for Queensland’s North West Minerals Province will facilitate a strong and prosperous future including the supply of essential minerals for the next phase of the renewable revolution. This includes almost $5.5 million to help diversify the regional economy and maximise economic development and job creation opportunities.
- The Communities in Transition Pilot Program (CiT) has worked closely with six Queensland regions for two years to identify a number of economic development opportunities and associated skills needs. CiT has initiated conversations, built leadership capacity and supported a place-based response to economic transition.
- The Queensland Government has partnered with the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) and the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) to harness interest and build skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through the Minerals and Energy Gateway to Industry Schools project. The project targets school students with an interest in STEM to create an employment pipeline for emerging workforce requirements in the resources sector. It does this through the provision of a contextualised curriculum, skills development and work experience opportunities.
- The Queensland Government provides targeted investment through a number of vocational education and training programs to assist the resources industry to train and upskill their current and future workforce and provide apprenticeship and traineeship opportunities.
What you can do
Community, business and industry are encouraged to take action to harness opportunities in a low carbon future.
Read about the Queensland Government’s current grants and funding opportunities.
The Queensland Government’s commitment to unlock renewable investment and achieve our renewable energy target of 50% by 2030 is a key mechanism to support our emissions reduction targets.
The production of wind turbines, solar cells, batteries and high-tech devices like mobile phones offers opportunities for Queensland’s resources sector. ‘critical minerals’ like copper, cobalt and graphite are critical to these products and place Queensland in a unique position to contribute to the developing high-tech, low carbon economy.
The manufacturing sector underpins many other sectors of the Queensland economy, making it important that new technologies and practices are adopted to enhance production and competitiveness.
The shift to zero-emission vehicles, including batteries, fuel cells and biofuels, and complementary industries, such as the manufacture of green hydrogen and sustainable mining of essential minerals, can create new manufacturing businesses and jobs. There are also wider benefits from a zero emission future including lower transport costs and improved air quality that will contribute to more liveable and resilient Queensland communities.
The shift to a low-carbon future presents significant opportunities for Queensland’s land and agriculture sector and its supply chain to deliver productivity, profitability and environmental benefits.
The opportunity to develop more efficient and climate resilient buildings and infrastructure will reduce running costs and avoid expensive reconstruction in the long term.
The Queensland tourism industry has the opportunity to demonstrate best practice sustainability and build on Queensland’s reputation as a first-class tourism destination.
First Nations communities have a deep and enduring relationship with—and connection and responsibility to—land, sea and sky; a connection that is impacted by climate change.