From strength to strength in the State of Discovery
Victoria’s credentials for new minerals exploration extends beyond gold. The state’s endowments of heavy mineral sands, antimony and early stage copper also attracting the attention of developers and investors.
The Victorian Government’s approach to managing the state’s minerals wealth has played a significant role in ensuring that the sector continues to go from strength to strength.
The government’s five-year strategy State of Discovery is focussed on boosting total exploration investment spending to $220 million by mid-2023 and delivering at least one significant discovery by 2028.
State of Discovery is focussed on attracting responsible explorers to invest in Victoria.
The strategy’s backbone is high quality geoscientific data and knowledge made publicly available through the Geological Survey of Victoria.
According to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the minerals sector is on-track to deliver the government’s targets.
Minerals exploration spending within Victoria is currently six times higher than it was in 2015 and it shows no sign of slowing. Spending during the June 2020 quarter surpassed the March quarter as the new highest quarterly mineral exploration expenditure figure ever recorded in Victoria.
Minerals production in Victoria was valued at over $1 billion in 2018-19.
Copper is used in electric vehicles and solar and wind generation technology and is increasing important to global responses to climate change and the transition to low carbon economy. It is also used to make a range of household and manufacturing items.
Ongoing high-grade copper exploration success in western Victoria could provide future production and help meet the new and increasing demand for this sought-after commodity.
Since its discovery in September 2019 by Stavely Minerals, the Cayley Lode at Thursday’s Gossan near Glenthompson in western Victoria has continued to demonstrate significant high-grade copper.
As recently as late October 2020, the company announced that mineral exploration at Thursday’s Gossan had revealed another significant intercept, reinforcing the scale, continuity and shallow nature of mineralisation within the Cayley Lode.
The discovery of the Cayley Lode follows a successful collaborative project of applied pre-competitive geoscience research by the Geological Survey of Victoria and Geoscience Australia in western Victoria in which new data and knowledge resolved the geological architecture of western Victoria including the associated mineral prospectivity.
Another Victorian mineral capturing the spotlight is antinomy. This mineral is used to harden lead in storage batteries, as a flame retardant and it is increasingly being used to produce semiconductors. It is one of a small selection of commodities on Australia’s critical minerals list.
Australia’s largest antinomy producer is located at Costerfield in north central Victoria, which is estimated to contain 17,800 tonnes of antimony and 204,000 ounces of gold in proved and probable reserves.
Both western Victoria and Gippsland are also endowed with a resource that could potentially be a new hero of Victorian minerals – heavy mineral sands.
Commodities such as zirconium and titanium contained within heavy mineral sands are in demand for a range of everyday household and industrial products, including welding materials, paints, paper and plastics, sunscreen, sporting equipment and joint replacements. Rare earth elements also occur with Victoria’s heavy mineral sands deposits and are considered critical to the production of high-performance magnets used in electric vehicles and wind turbines, alloys, glasses, fuel cells, batteries and electronics
The state offers mineral developers a proven endowment, with exploration opportunities in the Murray and Otway basins. There are currently five mineral sands projects at various stages of evaluation.
However, it is the Gippsland Basin that is generating most interest with the Glenaladale deposit, located 20 kilometres northwest of Bairnsdale. According to the explorer, the deposit is could be one of the most valuable heavy mineral sands deposits, globally.
Currently going through an Environment Effects Statement process, a heavy mineral sands mine at Glenaladale could raise Victoria’s State of Discovery credentials with the site having potential to become a major global supplier of zirconium, titanium, rare earth elements.
Victoria is truly a state of discovery for global investors whether it is exploring in one of our established regions or delving into newer areas that are prospective for in-demand minerals.
Discover more about the geology of western Victoria - The Stavely Arc – uncovering the geological evolution of western Victoria
Discover more about the geology of eastern Victoria - Beneath the Australian Alps
Page last updated: 08 Dec 2020