Australia invests in resource mapping for energy transition

Chunks of Petalite, petalite or castorite is an important mineral for obtaining lithium, battery industry, lithium source (critical minerals)
Petalite or castorite is an important mineral for obtaining lithium (Image: Shutterstock)

Australia will invest $566.1 million in resources mapping as part of efforts to boost sectors important to the green energy transition, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has announced.

Albanese said the long-term investment of $566.1 million over 10 years would deliver data, maps and tools to point the resource industry to new discoveries.

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The move will be led by Geoscience Australia and will for the first time include offshore areas, with an eye on sites for carbon capture and storage as well as clean hydrogen projects.

“We know that making more solar panels, batteries and clean energy technology means exploring and extracting more lithium, cobalt, nickel, copper, critical minerals and rare earths. These are the ingredients of the next big minerals boom and my government is working to make it easier to find more and meet the world’s appetite for them,” the Prime Minister said.

“By investing significantly in geoscience, we build on our strengths and our natural advantages. We take Australia closer to our rightful future as a clean energy superpower.”

Through this program, regional communities, farmers and First Nations peoples will be supported to manage their land and water resources, and be more fully informed about potential mining projects.

For the first time Resourcing Australia’s Prosperity (RAP) will map offshore areas of Australia as well, pointing the way for sites for carbon capture and storage, as well as possible sites for clean hydrogen projects.

It will provide a deeper understanding of the resource potential of the country’s regions by mapping Australia’s groundwater systems, supporting climate resilience, the agricultural sector, and water security for communities and the environment.

Geoscience Australia’s precompetitive data program has already led to major discoveries— including deposits of the critical minerals and rare earths needed to build clean energy technologies to get to net zero.

Related article: Government pledges $2 billion towards critical minerals

Precompetitive geoscience is the key to the strength of Australia’s resources sector, with Deloitte Access Economics finding that existing public precompetitive geoscience was estimated to have supported $76 billion of value added to the Australian economy and 80,000 full-time equivalent jobs in 2021-2022 alone.

Australian precompetitive geoscience has helped stimulate an unprecedented level of exploration activity, with 65 companies exploring across 569 tenements, covering over 290,000 square kilometres of Australia.

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