Natural Resources and Mines Minister, Dr Anthony Lynham, released the Annual Exploration Program for 2017-18, including thousands of square kilometres for gas.  A Palaszczuk Government initiative, the annual exploration program sets out the program of competitive tenders for the coming year. It helps resource companies plan their exploration programs and gives landholders, traditional owners and local governments notice of potential resource activity in their area.

The 2017-18 program includes:

  • almost 18,000 km2 of land for petroleum and gas exploration in the Surat, Bowen, Eromanga and Adavale Basins
  • more than 1100 km2 for minerals in the north-west mineral province
  • more than 540 km2 for coal in the Bowen Basin and Galilee Basins in the central west.

Dr Lynham said two sets of competitive tenders would be called: for petroleum and gas and minerals in the current quarter, and for coal in April-June 2018.

“Many of the petroleum and gas blocks are greenfield sites, and I encourage new and local players, as well as junior explorers to enter the Queensland market,” he said. “The solution to gas shortages is more gas and Queensland continues to do the heavy lifting on supply and policy initiatives, like our pilot of land for the domestic market only.”

The north-west minerals blocks are between Mount Isa and Doomadgee and have potential for copper/gold and lead/zinc, as well as the rare earth elements that are used in advanced technologies from hybrid vehicle batteries to super-conducting magnets.

“Unlocking these areas now puts our State on the trajectory of long-term economic growth,” Dr Lynham said. “These new minerals include rare earths and lithium and we need these minerals to develop renewable energy technologies such as solar panels, wind turbines and batteries.”