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The Queensland Government’s Collaborative Exploration Initiative (CEI) has handed 13 companies the opportunity to develop the state’s “next wave of resources jobs” in new economy minerals.

The sixth round of the CEI opened in November 2021 and offered a combined $2.5 million worth of grants to assist explorers in new mineral discovery.

Resources Minister Scott Stewart said these initiatives were vital for the continued strength of Queensland’s mining communities.

“The resources industry directly supports about 80,000 jobs across the state, particularly in the regions, which account for about two-thirds of all mining jobs,” he said.

“Jobs in minerals mining and quarrying have almost drawn level with jobs in coal mining, which shows the potential minerals have for creating jobs and economic benefits for our state.”

Sunshine Gold was one such company to receive CEI funding and managing director Damien Keys explained how the grant would help his business with geophysical exploration, field mapping and geochemical soil sampling.

“It allows us to fast-track exploration that would have taken us longer,” Keys said.

“We will be able to refine drill locations and it progresses us to the next stage of drilling.

“The grants validate our work to date and our science, and it takes off the funding pressure that junior explorers always contend with.”

Sunshine Gold has projects near the historic gold mining town of Ravenswood, 130km southwest of Townsville.

Other companies to receive funding included Minotaur Operations, Red Fox Resources and Lynd Resources.

Stewart said there was hardly a more important sector to invest in for the future of Queensland’s economy.

“The resources sector is central to Queensland’s economy and will continue to be the backbone of Queensland’s economic recovery as we emerge from the Omicron wave,” Stewart said.

“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to investing in the growing new economy minerals sector, which is powering the global energy transition and creating the next wave of resources jobs for Queenslanders.”