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The Victorian Government has released a raft of exploration licences for projects relating to minerals critical to the energy transition.

The new licences have now been approved to target minerals and metals including antinomy, zircon, copper and mineral sands.

Victoria has demonstrated resources of antinomy, titanium, zirconium and rare earth elements. There are also opportunities for other key raw materials including copper, high purity alumina and silica.

“We have strong critical mineral opportunities across the state – the CSIRO assessed that the Murray Basin mineral sand deposits alone, which are mostly in Victoria, contain an in-ground value of at least $200 billion,” Resources Victoria chief executive officer Matt Vincent said.

The Earth Resources Regulator has now approved 50 new minerals exploration licences this financial year with six awarded so far in June covering ground across the state.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, exploration expenditure across Victoria for the year to March 2024 was over $130 million.

In central Victoria, fresh exploration activity in the Bendigo and Nagambie areas will target gold, silver and antinomy through three new licences.

In south-west Victoria, one new mineral exploration licence near Casterton and another near Dartmoor will target mineral sands that could include titanium, zirconium and rare earth elements.

Another new licence for an area near Mortlake will target copper and zinc as well as lead and gold.

In western Victoria, a new retention licence near Maryborough will enable the assessment for zircon, gold, rutile and high purity quartz silica development.

Retention licences are the second phase of minerals development and allow explorers time to see if responsible development is feasible.

“In Victoria, we have stringent safeguards and our regulator is on hand to enforce the important provisions in place to protect the environment, community and infrastructure,” Vincent said.