Critical minerals

Critical minerals are metals and non-metals considered essential for many modern technologies, including the renewable energy infrastructure necessary for the decarbonisation of the economy.

These minerals are also described as critical due to their vulnerability to supply chain disruption owing to increased demand and/or geopolitical factors.

Regional Victoria has several of the world’s most in-demand critical minerals. These include globally significant mineral sands deposits in the northwest of the state which host:

  • 22% of Australia’s ilmenite, a titanium bearing mineral (~7% global resource)
  • 51% of Australia’s rutile, a titanium bearing mineral (~32% global resource)
  • 39% of Australia’s zircon, containing zirconium (~27% global resource)
  • Significant quantities of monazite and xenotime, which contain rare earth elements, in particular neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium.

Central Victoria hosts Australia’s only operating antimony mine. There are also known resources of high purity alumina and copper (another vital input for the energy transition) in other parts of the state.

Promising early-stage mineral exploration for other critical minerals, namely bismuth, indium, lithium, nickel, platinum group metals, rhenium, silicon, tin, tungsten and zinc, is also underway.

Victoria’s demonstrated and potential critical mineral endowment provides an opportunity for the state to contribute to the world’s transition to net zero.

Resources Victoria is leading the development of a roadmap to support the state’s emerging critical minerals sector.

Understanding Victoria’s critical minerals and strategic materials potential

The spatial distribution of different types of various minerals across Victoria is controlled by local host geology and the specific geological processes that formed the minerals, often tens to hundreds of millions of years ago.

Victorian ‘bedrock’ geology is divided into a number of northerly-trending ‘structural zones’. Each zone exhibits different geology which reflects formation by contrasting geological events active prior to 300 million years ago when Victoria was situated along the eastern margin of the super-continent Gondwana. The various mineral systems that formed within these different structural zones reflect the varied local plate tectonic processes active at the times of mineralisation.

Victorian ‘cover’ mineral systems reflect minerals hosted by thinner surface material formed by geological events that occurred from 300 million years ago to the present day. This cover material rests on top of Victoria’s bedrock geology.

Critical minerals and strategic materials potential

The above map of Victoria indicates broad regions of prospectivity for critical minerals and strategic materials. The coloured areas indicate the broad geographic extent of host surface geology where additional critical minerals of similar styles may occur. The map does not predict specifically where new critical mineral concentrations may occur.

Page last updated: 02 Jul 2024