Nominating land for the Queensland Exploration Program

Expressions of interest (EOI) are an important part of planning for future exploration in Queensland, and mining companies play a significant role in this process by identifying and nominating areas of land they feel may be prospective for resources development.

The Queensland Exploration Program (QEP) provides an opportunity for companies to submit EOIs.

EOIs received for the 2023 QEP

The EOI process to nominate land areas for inclusion in the 2023 QEP was open from 22 November 2022 until 24 February 2023. EOIs are only accepted while the EOI period is open.

During this process a total of 59 EOIs were received:

  • 40 petroleum and gas
  • 6 coal
  • 10 greenhouse gas storage
  • 3 mineral.

These EOIs were assessed against a range of social, environmental and economic factors to determine the schedule of tender areas for the 2023 QEP.

Submissions that are not included in the current schedule may still be considered for a future land release. Following the release of the 2023 QEP, all EOI submitters will be contacted with feedback on their nominated areas of land where they were not included in the 2023 QEP.

How we selected land for the 2023 QEP

We used a number of tools to assess EOI submissions, such as GeoResGlobe and the Queensland Globe.

We also considered the merits of each EOI in relation to the following factors:

  • environmental, regional and state future planning such as residential or commercial areas, national parks, infrastructure works
  • if a resource authority already exists over any part of the EOI
  • if multiple EOIs are received over the same area
  • the area's prospectivity and commercial viability
  • geological knowledge of the area
  • the area's location in relation to resources markets and supporting infrastructure such as roads, transport and export hubs
  • overall development of each basin or resource area
  • existing demand for the resource
  • Queensland's supply of the resource
  • expected demand from Queensland's customers.

We conducted an initial assessment of constraints for all EOI submissions, and consulted relevant agencies where more detailed information was required for specific areas of land.

How we managed overlaps and size constraints

Where EOIs overlapped existing exploration authorities for the same commodity the areas have been modified to remove the overlaps, as overlapping areas cannot be released for tender.

Where a number of EOI submissions overlapped areas for the same or a different commodity these were combined or reshaped prior to further assessment. As a result, multiple EOI submissions may be represented within 1 tender release area.

Some of the submissions exceeded the maximum size limit for a tender release area for a specific commodity. These areas were reduced in size and, where relevant, the EOI submitter was contacted to discuss the changes and their preferred option for proceeding with the EOI.

EOIs that were identified as intruding on national parks and nature refuges were modified through the assessment process to remove sub-blocks which included the overlaps. Removing these overlaps provided a clear distinction between land available for exploration and land with environmental protections.

Why we excluded some land areas

ESG conflicts

Queensland's resources industry has strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) foundations; robust frameworks for environmental protections and land access; and a focus on our people, our social and institutional structures, genuine partnerships with First Nations peoples, and sustainable community legacies. ESG was an important consideration in the assessment of EOIs.

While coexistence is the goal for land use, some areas have been excluded from the 2023 land release schedule because they present possible barriers to successful exploration and extraction of resources due to competing land uses and values.

Find out how we are notifying communities and stakeholders of the 2023 QEP and upcoming tenders.

Lake Eyre Basin

We received significant interest for land areas within the Lake Eyre Basin region, also known as the Channel Country in western Queensland, with over half of the EOI submissions for 2023 located within the Lake Eyre Basin.

At the time of lodgement of expressions of interest a consultation process was underway to consider the preservation of environmental safeguards for the rivers and floodplains of the Lake Eyre Basin, and how this can be achieved alongside sustainable economic development for the region.

This consultation was led by the Department of Environment and Science and has been completed with release of the Decision Impact Analysis Statement for the Queensland Lake Eyre Basin (PDF, 4MB) which details regulatory changes announced by the Queensland Government on 22 December 2023.

Greenhouse gas storage

We also received significant interest for greenhouse gas (GHG) storage exploration through the EOI process. While we have decided not to include GHG storage areas in the 2023 QEP, land areas submitted through the EOI process will be considered for future releases.

After tenders are awarded

While all areas of land included in the 2023 land release schedule have undergone constraints analysis and some areas have been modified, they are still subject to environmental, land use and other constraints.

Exploration companies who are awarded tender areas must manage these constraints through regulatory processes as they progress through resource authority application, and on-ground exploration activity processes.

Contact us

  • Email or phone +61 7 3096 6191 for help and information about exploration opportunities.
  • To receive updates and information on future land releases and upcoming tenders, subscribe to our mailing list.

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