Geoscientific research agency Geoscience Australia has created an atlas of sites across the country, which could potentially comprise earlier overlooked critical minerals.

The Atlas of Australian Mine Waste aims to search for minerals used to make electric vehicles and solar panels, among others.

A part of the Australian Government, Geoscience Australia carried out the initiative via its Exploring for the Future programme.

The initiative is an alliance with the University of Queensland and RMIT University, as well as the geological surveys of Queensland, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Victoria and South Australia.

It plans to offer more opportunities to extract valuable resources from rock and earth previously mined.

The aim is to strengthen Australia’s position as a clean energy powerhouse.

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Until now, 1,050 sites across the nation have been identified as possible critical mineral sources.

Northern Australia Resources Minister Madeleine King said: “Some of the minerals we need now, and into the future, may not just be in the ground – they’re also in rock piles and tailings on mine sites around the country.

“These minerals might not have been of interest when first extracted but could now be in hot demand as the world seeks to decarbonise – for example, cobalt in the tailings of old copper mines. This new Atlas puts these potentially lucrative sites on the map for the first time and may open up new sources of critical materials.

“Reprocessing rocks and earth that have been previously excavated during mining operations can give new life to old mining towns, create jobs and rejuvenate local economies.