Potential sites for next mining boom identified
Two land corridors stretching the length of Australia with a "high potential" for new resources discoveries will be targeted under a $225 million exploration program.
Resources Minister Keith Pitt said the exploring for the future program, which recently received a $125 million funding boost, would focus on two ribbons of land identified by Geoscience Australia.
Scientific exports at the agency have identified the north-south ribbons as having promising geology for discoveries of groundwater, conventional and unconventional oil and gas and minerals including gold, diamonds, base metals and critical minerals.
"The challenge for exploring for the future is to narrow down where the new mineral, energy and groundwater resources are located along these corridors, which each run for thousands of kilometres through remote parts of Australia," Mr Pitt said.
"The east corridor will start at the edge of the Gulf of Carpentaria and run through Mount Isa in Queensland and down the borders of New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria.
"On the other side of the country, the west corridor will start just south of Darwin and straddles the borders of the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia finishing at the edge of the Great Australian Bight."
The EFTF program received a funding boost in June after being established in 2016 with $100 million.
Geoscience Australia will also use some of the new funding to collect data across southern Australia, replicating a similar effort across Northern Australia over the past four years.
"In its first four years, the program carried out more than 20 activities across three million square kilometres of Northern Australia, including geophysical surveys, geochemical sampling, hydrogeological mapping and stratigraphic drilling," Mr Pitt said.
He said it had delivered a detailed picture of potential resources in Northern Australia, including almost 250 new publicly available datasets.
Association of Mining and Exploration Companies chief executive Warren Pearce said the first four years of the EFTF program had "demonstrated significant success" identifying Australia's resource potential.