Queensland pioneers of the CSG-LNG industry, Tri-Star, is taking a punt on gold and copper exploration in the North Queensland historic goldfields and anticipates strong results for further development. 

Queensland Minister for Resources, Scott Stewart made the announcement alongside Tri-Star’s Country Manager Andrew Hackwood earlier this week from the Spider Gully project located west of Townsville, QLD. 

Copper and other critical minerals have become a major focus in exploration in Queensland, with Tri-star just one of many companies showing an interest, according to Mr Stewart. 

“Interest in minerals exploration in Queensland is en route to an all-time high. Applications for mineral exploration permits have been climbing steadily for the past couple of years,” he said, adding that the number of permits applied for was the most activity in a decade and on current trends could hit an all-time high.

Mr Hackwood explained that Tri-star’s diversification from gas discovery to minerals reflects the rapid transition of energy to renewables and that North Queensland offered an ‘abundance of opportunities.’

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“With significant capital, geological expertise and access to cutting-edge exploration technology, we have the ideal capability to give us every possible chance of success,” he said. 

The company is also keen to engage local companies like Eagle Drilling in the project and will work closely with regional communities. Tri-Star continues to seek exploration investment around the country, with assets already held in South Australia and the Northern Territory. 

The exploration project has been delivered in conjunction with the Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan.  This is a thirty-year plan developed to encourage investment in the diversification of mineral development in the state, in keeping with global trends. The plan includes $22.6 million towards a collaborative exploration initiative, $10m for geophysics discovery and $5m for defining new Queensland mineral potential. 

The development plan also presents initiatives towards establishing a battery manufacturing industry, increased engagement with First Nations, ESG in the development of new mining projects and a ten-year job strategy. 

The Queensland Resources Council were particularly welcoming of the resource industry workforce plan which aims to identify and address future skill requirements. 

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the resources sector is ‘Queensland’s number one export industry and supports the jobs of more than 420,000 people.

“Along with other industries, our sector is experiencing a critical shortage in skilled and experienced tradespeople as well as science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) professionals,” he said.

He looked forward to the industry meeting the demand for the increase in these skills by ‘supporting the education, training and on-the-job learning for people interested in a resources career’.

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Author – Troy Adams, Global Road Technology