Mining critical minerals

Some critical minerals—such as copper, zinc, and aluminium—have been mined in Queensland for decades but are being used in new and different applications to help emerging technologies and contribute to decarbonisation. However, quite a few minerals are about to be mined for the first time. That’s why the exploration of critical minerals is crucial to help unearth new and deeper reserves and deposits.

We know there are deposits of critical minerals in a broad corridor from Mount Isa to Townsville and we are currently exploring these areas through numerous initiatives. Many critical minerals are located alongside traditional commodities so we are focusing on the following 2 areas to locate and utilise these minerals:

New exploration activities

Exploration activities, such as geophysical surveys, help us discover new deposits of minerals. The following projects involve searching for minerals as well as looking at ways in which we can sustainably extract them.

Kamilaroi airborne magnetic survey

Geological Survey of Queensland (GSQ) is undertaking an airborne magnetic survey north of Mount Isa, following the known trend of cobalt mineralisation associated with major copper deposits. This survey will better define key structures known to be responsible for this style of mineralisation. The survey has the potential to open exploration for copper and cobalt in previously under-explored areas.

What is it?

An airborne magnetic survey is where either an aeroplane or helicopter with a magnetometer attached does a geological map over large areas—it’s one of the most rapid and efficient methods of doing magnetic surveys. The magnetometer measures the total intensity of the Earth's magnetic field along continuous flight lines at a fixed distance apart. The aircraft is flown at a constant terrain clearance, with modern surveys flown at less than 100 metres above ground level.

Image of the total magnetic intensity of regional airborne geophysical survey flown
Image of the total magnetic intensity of regional airborne geophysical survey flown

Canobie gravity gradiometry survey

GSQ will undertake a high-resolution gravity gradiometry survey north of Cloncurry, including the Saxby area, to assist with targeting critical mineral and iron-oxide-copper-gold deposits (IOCG). In addition to being a major source of copper in the North West, IOCG deposits are a key host to other critical minerals such as cobalt and rare earth elements.

What is it?

Gravity gradiometry is the study and measurement of variations in the Earth’s gravity field. For mineral exploration, it measures the density of the subsurface to gain information on geologic structures underground and undersea. Or simply put, it helps us understand and see beneath large expanses of covered rocks and reveal our potential resource deposits. Gravity gradiometry enables us to efficiently target exploratory activities and minimises surface and community disturbance.

Image of the falcon derived vertical gravity gradient (terrain corrected using a density of 2.67gcc)
Image of the falcon derived vertical gravity gradient (terrain corrected using a density of 2.67gcc)

Carpentaria Conductivity Anomaly magnetotelluric survey

GSQ is undertaking 2 broad-scale magnetotelluric (MT) surveys to the south and east of Cloncurry to map out the Carpentaria Conductivity Anomaly, a geological feature that may be prospective for copper, cobalt and rare earth elements.

What is it?

Magnetotelluric surveys are used to reconstruct the underground resistivity disruption from shallow depths to hundreds of kilometres depth. It uses natural time variations of the Earth’s magnetic and electric fields to measure the subsurface. Electrical resistivity of rocks and minerals is an important physical property to measure to understand geological structure and processes.

Image of Magnetotelluric surveys in the Mount Isa region overlain on (a) the total magnetic intensity anomaly map of Australia and (b) Bouguer gravity anomaly map
Magnetotelluric surveys in the Mount Isa region overlain on (a) the total magnetic intensity anomaly map of Australia and (b) Bouguer gravity anomaly map

Extracting rare earth elements sustainably

This initiative is crucial to the future development of an entire rare earth elements (REE) supply chain. By demonstrating an economic and environmentally sustainable extraction method for REE, numerous exploration-stage REE projects will become viable.

Commercialising these techniques will create new jobs in and around a Queensland-based processing facility, with flow-on benefits for communities and the region.

Determining the rare earth element potential of Queensland’s basins

Researchers at Adelaide University have developed a cutting-edge model for rare earth mineralisation in basin environments. GSQ will conduct a project in collaboration with Adelaide University to develop this model further with particular reference to specific examples and regions in North West Queensland, such as the Georgina Basin around Mount Isa. This model will enable explorers to identify prospective target areas more effectively.

Collaborative Exploration Initiative

The Collaborative Exploration Initiative (CEI) supports innovative mineral exploration by providing grants to companies undertaking higher-risk exploration activities, or activities in previously under-explored areas of Queensland.

Re-examining existing mines

We are always looking at ways to sustainably re-use old mines. In our search for critical minerals, we are analysing waste from existing mines, and looking at old mines to see if they contain viable deposits.

Analysing mine waste materials and core samples

In collaboration with the Sustainable Minerals Institute at the University of Queensland, the GSQ is re-analysing samples from mine waste materials at mine sites throughout Queensland to identify critical mineral opportunities.

In the past, cost constraints prevented many companies from analysing drill core samples beyond a restricted suite of metals when conducting their exploration programs. For example, a copper explorer might typically examine the core only for copper, lead, zinc and possibly gold and silver. Cobalt—which may be associated with copper—was not commonly included in those examinations.

GSQ is re-analysing large volumes of core samples obtained from known deposits. GSQ has access to many drill core and surface samples through its drill core libraries, as well as through collaborative relationships with key Queensland explorers. This information will be digitised and released to the public.

Reusing old mines

Several previously mined sites in Queensland have returned to state control and may contain untapped opportunities. These sites are ideal for exploration as they are on existing mining leases, infrastructure (in some cases) already exists, and the resources are above ground. In collaboration with the University of Queensland, we are examining the potential of mine waste for critical minerals and finding opportunities for further development.

What is it?

Mine waste comes from extracting and processing mineral resources. It can include things like:

  • tailings–the waste material left over after the valuable component has been removed through processing
  • stockpiles–piles or storage locations for materials or product which has been extracted through the mining process
  • waste dumps–usually the most visually obvious landforms left after open pit mining. The dump’s height and slope angles need to be designed to ensure the final landform is safe, stable, and not prone to erosion.

Some of this waste is unlikely to damage the environment, however, some waste can contain large quantities of substances like heavy metals. Properly managing mining waste will prevent or minimise water and soil pollution arising from acid or alkaline drainage and the leaching of heavy metals.

If critical minerals are found, sites could be re-packaged and offered back to the market, perhaps with incentives or collaborative arrangements to address any legacy environmental issues.

More information

If you’re looking for more information about exploration activities or geological surveys, email

Last updated 24 October 2022

White Ribbon Accredited Workplace

A proud White Ribbon Accredited Workplace, in recognition of the active steps taken to recognise, prevent, respond and support staff affected by domestic and family violence. We are committed to creating a safe, inclusive and respectful workplace.

Visit our website for information about this year's land valuations and an overview of valuations in your area.

For other valuation enquiries, phone us during business hours on 13 QGOV (13 74 68) (in Australia) or +61 7 3022 0001 (from overseas), or contact your local business centre.

Our enquiries contact centre is open 9.00am to 4.00pm Monday to Friday (excl. public holidays).

Visit us at for information about vegetation maps, codes, development approvals and how to obtain vegetation clearing approvals.

For enquiries and appointments:

Visit us at to access forms, application guides and information about lodging your application and payment options.

Contact your nearest business centre, below, to arrange of pre-lodgement meeting.

For lodgement enquiries, please contact:

Phone: (07) 4447 9174

Visit us at to access forms, guidelines and general information on freehold title, land transfers, land trusts and leasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land.

You can also contact us on:

Phone: 13 QGOV (13 74 68)

William McCormack Place
Level 5, 5b Sheridan Street
Cairns QLD 4870

Postal address
PO Box 937
Cairns QLD 4870

Visit us at to find out about native title obligations for mining and resources.

Native Title Services

Native Title Services administers the native title requirements for all mining and petroleum resource authorities.

Phone: (07) 4936 0138
PO Box 3679
Red Hill QLD 4702

Visit us at to access standards, forms, calibration baselines and other surveying information.

General survey enquiries

For general enquiries about surveying, email

For enquiries about permanent survey marks, email

For Titles enquiries, email

Submission of survey plans and records

To submit GNSS data, email

For surveyors to request surveying advice, email

To submit Form 6 or PSM maintenance forms not associated with a plan submission, email

To deposit or submit copies of survey plans, email

Legislation and policy

For enquiries about surveying legislation and policies, contact:

Surveying Services
Land and Surveying Services
PO Box 15216
City East QLD 4002
Email Director of Surveys

Titles Registry Lodgement and Search Services

From 12:00pm, Friday 16 December 2022, Titles Registry lodgement and search services will no longer be provided at the following business centres:

  • Bundaberg
  • Cairns
  • Gold Coast (Robina)
  • Ipswich
  • Nambour
  • Townsville

Visit Titles Queensland for alternative search and lodgement options.

Do a search online

Buy current property title searches and survey plans online.


Please note that Titles Queensland does not provide legal or conveyancing advice. You should contact a legal professional for personalised advice.


You can lodge your documents at the business centres where Titles Queensland lodgement hours are indicated below. Please make sure you arrive at regional business centres early enough to finalise your lodgements before closing time.

You can also lodge documents by posting the document along with payment to:

Brisbane Titles Queensland Office
GPO Box 1401

See the Payments and lodgement page for more detailed information (including requirements for payment by cheque).

Visit us at to access our geoscience resources and publications.

Chief Government Geologist


Geological information


Courier deliveries

Geological Survey of Queensland
Level 4
1 William Street

Written enquiries

Geological Survey of Queensland
Department of Resources
PO Box 15216

GSQ Open Data Portal and Lodgement Portal




Geophysical information


Geochemical information


Resource Planning

Including enquiries about Key Resource Areas in the State Planning Policy July 2014 and requests for extractive industry information such as production data, quarry locations and contact details.


Exploration Data Centre

Email: (Zillmere)
Phone: +61 7 3096 6810
Fax: +61 7 3096 6817

68 Pineapple Street

The John Campbell Miles Drill Core Storage Facility (Mount Isa)

Email: (Mount Isa)

Phone: +61 7 4743 0078
Mobile: +61 459 822 434
Fax: +61 7 4743 0156

Killara Crescent
Kalkadoon Industrial Estate
PO Box 334

Visit for more information on fossicking in Queensland and to purchase fossicking licences and permits, or contact a Mines Assessment Hub.

For technical support when purchasing a fossicking licence online, please contact:

MyMinesOnline helpdesk
Phone: +61 7 3199 8133

Visit us at for more information about applying for a resource authority. You can also lodge and track the progress of most applications online through MyMinesOnline.

For general enquiries contact the relevant assessment hub.

Mineral Assessment Hub

The Mineral Assessment Hub administers mineral mining permits. These include mining leases, mineral development licences, exploration permits and prospecting permits.

Mining claims and mining leases for opal, gemstones, corundum or other precious stones are now administered by the Mineral Assessment Hub.

Level 9, 445 Flinders Street
Townsville QLD 4810

PO Box 1752
Townsville QLD 4810

Phone: (07) 4447 9230

Coal Assessment Hub

The Coal Assessment Hub administers all coal mining permits. These include mining leases, mineral development licences, exploration permits and prospecting permits.

Building E, 25 Yeppoon Road
Parkhurst QLD 4702

PO Box 3679
Red Hill QLD 4701

Phone: (07) 4936 0169

Petroleum Assessment Hub

The Petroleum Assessment Hub administers all petroleum, gas and geothermal authorities.

1 William Street
Brisbane QLD 4000

PO Box 15216
City East QLD 4002

Phone: (07) 3199 8119

District offices

Quilpie District Office

Court House
Buln Buln Street
Quilpie QLD 4480

PO Box 29
Quilpie QLD 4480

Contact the relevant Assessment Hub for enquiries.

Dalby District Office

30 Nicholson Street
Dalby QLD 4405

PO Box 589
Dalby QLD 4405

Contact the relevant Assessment Hub for enquiries.

Emerald District Office

99 Hospital Road
Emerald QLD 4720

PO Box 245
Emerald QLD 4720

Contact the relevant Assessment Hub for enquiries.

Winton District Office

Court House
Vindex Street
Winton QLD 4735

PO Box 230
Winton QLD 4735

Contact the relevant Assessment Hub for enquiries.

Mount Isa District Office

13 Isa Street
Mount Isa QLD 4825

PO Box 334
Mount Isa QLD 4825

Contact the relevant Assessment Hub for enquiries.

Charters Towers District Office

Tropical Weeds Research Centre
27-43 Natal Downs Road
Charters Towers QLD 4820

PO Box 62
Charters Towers QLD 4820

Contact the relevant Assessment Hub for enquiries.

Mareeba District Office

28 Peters Street
Mareeba QLD 4880

PO Box 156
Mareeba QLD 4880

Contact the relevant Assessment Hub for enquiries.

Georgetown District Office

Court House
12 High Street
Georgetown QLD 4871

PO Box 28
Georgetown QLD 4871

Contact the relevant Assessment Hub for enquiries.


For enquiries on Fossicking in Queensland, please contact a Mines Assessment Hub.

For technical support when purchasing a fossicking licence online, please contact the MyMinesOnline helpdesk on phone +61 7 3199 8133 or email

For general enquiries, please contact the Resource community infoline on 13 71 07 or email

Make a complaint about a mineral and energy resources activity

Visit us at Mapping, data and imagery services (Business Queensland) to access spatial information.

Spatial data and mapping general enquiries

Contact us by completing one of our online request forms.

Other enquiries email:

Queensland Globe and GeoResGlobe

Contact us by completing our online request forms.

Phone: +61 7 33304101


For information about using Imagery and Elevation web services, links to access and support forms, and service updates visit our Knowledge Base.

For information about acquisition coordination or data access to the Spatial Imagery Services Program email

To request certified aerial photograph copies for court proceedings email

To purchase high resolution aerial images email

General enquiries email

Queensland Spatial information Council (QSIC)


Queensland place names

Search for current place names or find out more information about place naming.


Administrative boundaries

View information about local government areas and other administrative boundaries.


Museum of Lands, Mapping and Surveying

Contact us by completing our online request form.

Exhibition opening hours:

9.30am to 4.00pm Monday to Friday (closed public holidays and Queensland Government closures)

Research advice is by appointment only.

Ground Floor
317 Edward Street (between Turbot Street and Wickham Terrace)
Brisbane QLD 4000

National Relay Service

If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, contact us through the National Relay Service (NRS).

Ask the NRS to connect you to 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

Interpreter assistance

Contact Language Loop on 1800 512 451 and ask for an interpreter.

Business centre locations


Direct phone: 



Service hours

  • Titles Registry searches
  • Titles Registry lodgements
    This office does not accept Titles Registry lodgements.

Local government areas: