What is the MinEx CRC?

The MinEx Cooperative Research Centre (MinEx CRC) is the world’s largest mineral exploration collaboration, bringing together industry, government, research organisations and universities to further our understanding of geology, mineral deposits and groundwater resources in areas where rocks aren’t exposed at Earth’s surface.

The collaboration has identified three specific programs – Drilling technologies, Data from drilling and the National Drilling Initiative (NDI).

The Geological Survey of New South Wales (GSNSW) is a major participant in the NDI program, committing $16 million to the program over 10 years.

In NSW, the program focuses on five areas in the state’s central and far west (Figure 1 below), where Group 1 minerals (metals) potentially exist under a layer of younger barren geology. These areas are:

Figure 1: NDI areas

GSNSW will undertake geological mappingairborne electromagnetic and other geophysical surveys, hydrogeochemistrybiogeochemistry, and drilling from 2019 to 2028. Drilling is planned from 2022 to 2026 and will avoid sensitive areas such as state significant aquifers and national parks.

Mining of metals such as nickel, copper, zinc, silver and gold provide significant economic and social benefits to the state.

High-tech and critical metals including platinum, cobalt, scandium and lithium are also key to many emerging advanced-technology industries, such as the manufacture of smart phones and renewable energy technologies. These metals play an important role in our modern and smart, sustainable energy way of life.

As it is unlikely there are any significant new metalliferous mineral deposits left to discover at the surface in NSW, new data needs to be collected to enable the detection of deposits that may exist deeper underground.

GSNSW will consult landholders, local communities and other government agencies before and during major activities in each area.

Where possible community information sessions will be held in local town centres so all community members can find out more about activities in their area. The dates and venues of these sessions will be posted to this website as they are confirmed. Where face-to-face sessions are not possible or practical, online webinars will be used.

Landholders and landholder interest groups who are directly impacted by MinEx CRC activities will also be consulted individually, either through face-to-face meetings or via telephone.

In August 2018, the Governor of NSW declared five Mineral Allocation Areas (MAAs) for Group 1 minerals in NSW – Dubbo, Mundi, Forbes, North Cobar and South Cobar. This declaration prevents application for Group 1 exploration licences without the consent of the Minister.

Exploration licence applications for other mineral groups are not affected.

The NSW Government has developed a new EOI process to allow explorers to access the MAAs while the MinEx CRC activities are underway.