The Sunshine State is moving ahead with plans to encourage greater mining and energy extraction in Queensland. It is hoped this will boost mining jobs and support the industries that rely on mining for their income.

The Queensland government is investing more in exploration and in production to increase the number of mining and natural gas projects in the state.

More investment in collaborative drilling

Queensland is making a fresh push for finding and opening new mines in an effort to boost the mining industry.

Through its Collaborative Drilling Initiative (CDI), Queensland hopes to increase the number of mines in the state providing business for miners, including the companies that supply them with essential services like mining equipment repairs.

The CDI provides grants to stimulate investment in under-explored parts of the state. Eligible mining companies can apply for a grant to meet up to half their drilling costs, to a maximum of $150,000.

More than $5.99 million in grants has been provided to 52 companies for 72 completed mining exploration projects since the CDI began in 2006. Queensland extracted over $6.6 billion worth of metallic mineral from mining in 2012-13, according to statistics released by the state government.

The state’s minister for natural resources and mines, Dr Anthony Lynham, has said the successful CDI projects will target minerals such as “gold, copper-gold, base metals, graphite and phosphate” in the greenfield and brownfield areas of Queensland.

There are now 16 exploration projects sharing more than $1.43 million in investment, according to the minister, with North West Queensland alone to host nine of these projects.

The Geological Survey of Queensland and an independent panel will decide which companies will have their exploration proposals in under-explored areas of the state chosen.

“These drilling projects provide the resources sector access to new and valuable information about Queensland’s mineral and energy potential to further stimulate ongoing exploration investment,” Dr Lynham said.

The minister believes North West Queensland was the part of the state recognised globally as strong and competitive in mineral production with significant high-quality copper, silver, lead, zinc, gold and phosphate deposits.

LNG projects in Queensland

In the natural gas industry, Queensland is dramatically increasing its liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports with last week’s dedication of a new QCLNG Plant on Curtis Island.

The facility is the world’s first facility to produce LNG from natural gas, according to Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at the dedication ceremony.

There are a total of three major LNG projects including the Curtis Island plant, in Queensland. This plant will be able to produce 8.5 million tonnes of product per year, according to the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association. This is more than the other two plants, Gladstone and Australia Pacific, both of which will become fully operational later this year.

The state government has announced it would open up a further 11,000 square kilometres for exploration to find more LNG deposits that can be developed.

Dr Anthony Lynham was also seeking expressions of interest from international companies to develop more projects in Queensland and build the state into a centre for LNG in Australia.

The QCLNG plant would make around 120 shipments a year to China, Japan, Singapore, India and Chile, bringing in significant revenue from countries moving away from coal-based energy production.

Having effectively banned the development of further uranium mines in the state, LNG is seen as a way to shore up Queensland’s reputation as a resource-rich economy competitive with Western Australia.

“The Cooper and Eromanga Basins contain vast petroleum and gas resources and are considered among Australia’s most prospective and commercially viable regions for deep gas and oil development,” he said.

The state would offer companies interested in opening new LNG projects in Queensland up to $70 billion worth of pipelines, processing facilities and liquefaction plants.

It is expected more mining projects in the state companies that service the industry will also experience growth. Many mining equipment companies offer field services for instrumentation installation as well as breakdowns, troubleshooting and repairs. With more mines expected to open in the coming years, it is important companies have the right tools for the job.