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Exploring for future prosperity

The Australian Government’s A$225 million Exploring for the Future program, led by Geoscience Australia, is opening up new exploration opportunities across the nation to support mineral discoveries. 

The program has resulted in significant new investment in exploration across Northern Australia, with over 120,000 square kilometres of greenfield exploration tenements in the region between Mount Isa in Queensland and Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory under application.

The Exploring for the Future program is being expanded, with eight new projects announced in March 2021. They include:

  • three deep-dive projects in potentially resource-rich corridors identified in the east and west of Australia
  • three continental-scale projects that have national applications but with a focus on southern Australia
  • two program-support projects.

In the meantime, the recently released 2020 edition of Australia’s Identified Mineral Resources (AIMR) report has reaffirmed Australia’s position as one of the world’s top producers of key critical minerals. At the end of 2019, we remained a global leader in mineral exploration and production, and one of the world’s most desirable locations for investing in the mineral sector. In 2019 our mineral exports were valued at A$234 billion, accounting for 47 per cent of all Australia’s exported goods and services. Investment in mineral exploration increased by 21 per cent, compared to the previous year, reaching A$2.6 billion.

Australia remained the world’s top producer of iron ore with 36 per cent of global production and we also produced 56 per cent of the world’s lithium, which is becoming increasingly important for battery storage technologies.