Australia’s Queensland Government is planning to invest A$245m ($164m) as part of its Critical Minerals Strategy to help boost critical minerals production, attract investment and reduce rents on mining exploration leases.

As part of this strategy, the state will allocate A$55m for investments to reduce rent for new and existing exploration minerals permits to zero for the next five years.

Approximately A$75m will be allotted to establish critical mineral zones, initially at Julia Creek/Richmond and around Mount Isa, to help advance critical minerals projects.

The state will also establish an integrated office, named Critical Minerals Queensland, to oversee the critical mineral sector development and help attract international investment.

The Queensland Government will also invest A$5m for mining waste and tailings for critical minerals, as well as A$8m to fund scientific research including circular economy initiatives.

Of the total investment, A$1m will be used to advance research.

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Furthermore, the strategy will deliver the A$100m Critical Minerals and Battery Technology Fund, which will support new project investment.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said: “In Queensland, we have some of the world’s richest mineral-producing areas, which in North Queensland alone is estimated to be worth $500bn.

“This is why our government is investing $5bn to build CopperString 2032, to connect the North West Minerals Province, with the largest renewable energy zone on the east coast of Australia to mine and process critical minerals with renewable energy.

“The Queensland Critical Mineral Strategy is about growing this industry by not just mining the raw materials but also being able to process it and manufacturing renewables right here in Queensland.”