Support for critical minerals mining development and operations
Critical minerals supporting infrastructure
Queensland's resources sector is supported by a vital and growing supply chain that links to global markets via road, rail and sea. We are investing in common user infrastructure, both extending and strengthening supply chains and local demand.
Learn more about this in the Queensland resources industry development plan.
Resources infrastructure map
Use this map to understand some of Queensland's major supporting infrastructure.
Queensland's 'pit-to-product' approach includes providing efficient freight movement to export markets. The Queensland Government is investing in several freight routes including:
- Flinders Highway—a key road freight route, linking the North West to Townsville's processing and export facilities
- Mount Isa rail line system—1,000km of track from Stuart (near Townsville) to Mount Isa
- North West Minerals Province supply chain through to the Port of Townsville.
The CopperString 2032 project will deliver a 1,100km high-voltage electricity transmission line from Townsville to Mount Isa that will connect Queensland's North West Minerals Province (NWMP) to the national electricity grid. Due to its isolation, the NWMP is not currently connected to the National Electricity Market. CopperString 2032 will provide energy certainty to the region's critical minerals sector, delivering reliable, affordable and renewable power.
Use the electricity generation map to learn more about Queensland's energy infrastructure.
In recent years there has also been substantial investment in large solar, wind and hydroelectricity projects, including the construction of a $200 million, 125 megawatt solar farm by Sun Metals to power their refinery operations outside of Townsville. This will cut energy costs for the growing local industries that process critical minerals and use them in manufacturing and is supported by Queensland's energy and jobs plan.
Water preserves our environment, sustains our communities and is a critical input for the farming and mining industries. Water is a vital resources for all of Queensland.
Learn more about the use and management of Queensland's water and water planning and catchments in your area of interest.
Local processing and manufacturing
Queensland is investing in extending and strengthening supply chains and local demand to create a new wave of industrialisation based on critical minerals processing and manufacturing. Learn more about how we're doing this in the Queensland resources industry development plan.
We are supporting the growth of local processing and production activity with projects such as the Queensland resources common user facility (QRCUF) located at Cleveland Bay Industrial Park in Townsville, within the Townsville State Development Area (SDA).
The Townsville SDA is a defined area of land dedicated for industrial development, which has locational benefits near the Port of Townsville, and connections to key rail routes and a national road network. SDAs offer a streamlined development assessment process for projects and is managed by the Coordinator-General.
Learn more about the purpose and benefits of an SDA, development schemes, and related information for other current state development areas.
Other manufacturing projects are also progressing such as the Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub (TECH) at the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct in Townsville.
Where to from here
Before the mining stage of your resources project can commence, you may need to submit applications at the planning and development stages to meet many different regulatory requirements across many departments. These steps will assist in identifying the departments you will need to engage with in the beginning of your application journey.
Find information about how to progress a resource project in Queensland including:
- supporting development in our regions
- business and investment services for mining and resources
- environmental authorities' forms and fees
- environmental impact statement processes
- managing and accessing water resources
- energy for industry.
Approval process for critical minerals mining projects in Queensland
The resource application process flowchart (PDF, 282KB) reflects the high-level pathways for project approvals of critical mineral mining, for tenure, environmental management and where appropriate, support through the Office of the Coordinator-General. It identifies the processes that need to be done in a particular order and the processes that can occur in parallel.
Read more about interacting with the Queensland Government for your resource project.
Your project may also require Australian Government approvals if the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment considers the project is a 'controlled action' under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. If the project is a 'controlled action' under the Commonwealth legislation it would also be eligible to be assessed under the bilateral agreement between the Commonwealth and the State of Queensland, as decided by the Minister for the Environment.
Find information on the role of the Australian Government in project approvals.
The time it takes to process applications depends on several factors, including:
- tenure type
- potential environmental risk
- the regulatory requirements for the particular project
- the complexity of the application.
Find information on application processing times and other performance measures for resource tenure approvals on the georesources tenure performance dashboard.
Considering 'coordinated project' status
An early consideration for large resource projects in Queensland is the potential to have the project declared a 'coordinated project' by the Coordinator-General under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971.
Learn more about the impact assessment process for coordinated projects (PDF, 158KB).
A proponent of a project with 1 or more of the following characteristics may apply to have it declared as a 'coordinated project':
- complex approval requirements, involving local, state and federal governments
- significant environmental effects
- strategic significance to the locality, region or state, including for the infrastructure, economic and social benefits, capital investment or employment opportunities it may provide
- significant infrastructure requirements.
You will need to apply if you want to be considered for a coordinated project declaration. Early pre-lodgement engagement with the Office of the Coordinator-General is encouraged to understand the coordinated project application process and the benefits to your project if it were to be declared.
A 'coordinated project' declaration triggers the requirement for a project proponent to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) or an impact assessment report (IAR). If a 'coordinated project' declaration is made, the Coordinator-General manages the assessment process, which includes working with advisory agencies, Australian Government (if relevant), local government and other organisations to seek input on the EIS or IAR and on any statutory approvals, coordinating public submissions on the EIS or IAR and other documentation, and preparing a final evaluation report.
You may seek advice (based on early pre-design concepts) to:
- determine the feasibility of approvals for a project
- have application processes explained
- be guided on the type of information that will need to be provided in an application to meet legislative requirements.
As you identify the departments you may need to engage with to progress your application journey you may contact each agency to begin a conversation.
- For the mining lease, the Department of Resources is your administering authority. Arrange a pre-lodgement meeting by contacting the assessment hub.
- For environmental permitting, including conversations about the environmental impact statement process under the Environmental Protection Act 1994, the Department of Environment and Science is the administering authority and you can complete the form to request a pre-lodgement meeting.
- For the environmental impact statement process under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971, as part of a coordinated project managed by the Office of the Coordinator-General, contact the Coordinated project delivery team:
- email firstname.lastname@example.org
- phone 1800 001 048.
- For social impact assessment under the Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Act 2017, as part of both environmental impact assessment processes, the Office of the Coordinator-General is the administering authority. For enquiries, contact the Coordinated project delivery team:
- email email@example.com
- phone 1800 001 048.
- For water matters not covered in an environmental approval, contact the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water.
It is reasonable to expect more than 1 pre-lodgement conversation for more complex projects, as plans evolve. Pre-lodgement that supports clear communication and information sharing will streamline your application process.
When pre-lodgement is used effectively, administering authorities are able to make clearer, more timely decisions.
- Last reviewed: 23 Jun 2023
- Last updated: 23 Jun 2023