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Applications are now open for the first round of a new fund set to turbocharge the critical minerals and high-tech metals sector and position regional NSW as a major global supplier.

Deputy Premier and Regional NSW minister Paul Toole said the Critical Minerals and High-Tech Metals Activation Fund would help diversify and accelerate mining projects in regional NSW.

He said the state was rich in critical minerals and high-tech metals, such as rare earths, cobalt, copper, antimony, and scandium, which are crucial to a range of emerging technologies including the defence space, the manufacture of electric vehicles, solar panels, and wind turbines.

“The NSW Government is investing more than $130 million towards the growth and future of the mining sector and I’m pleased to announce applications are now open for the first stream of this Fund,” he said.

“It will help deliver a diverse, vibrant, investment-ready industry, ensuring NSW is ready to meet the rapidly expanding global market and giving a vital economic boost to our regional economies.

“To give projects the best possible start, grants of up to $500,000 will support key studies, research and development, such as feasibility studies, mine re-use processing studies, metallurgical testing and infrastructure, water, and environmental studies.”

Grants will be awarded through a competitive process and successful applicants will be required to provide a funding co-contribution.