Stavely Minerals Exploration Initiative

Mineral exploration and development are important to Victoria’s economy. Exploration projects bring investment and jobs to regional areas and communities. Currently around half of the state is under an exploration licence.

The Stavely Arc is a north-south trending geological zone in western Victoria that runs from near Mildura to Mortlake. Geologists believe that 500 million years ago the region was on the border of a super-continent called Gondwana, giving it a similar geological environment at the time to the copper-rich Andes in South America.

To draw greater attention to the mineral potential of the region, the Stavely Project Area (SPA) was established south of the Grampians mountain ranges.

Between 2015 and 2022, the department undertook an integrated program of geoscientific investigations, community and stakeholder engagement and investment attraction activities in the SPA, known as the Stavely Minerals Exploration Initiative.

Objectives of the initiative

The objectives of the initiative were to ensure:

  • responsible explorers were attracted to the Stavely Arc region, and
  • local communities and stakeholders in the area had a high degree of information and awareness of the initiative, including landholder rights and environmental protections applied to resources projects.

Work included in the initiative

The initiative included:

  • New geoscientific investigations between 2015 and 2018, building on the long mineral exploration history of the region. The research indicates there is potential for copper, other metals and gold in western Victoria. Read more about the Stavely geoscience project.
  • The project produced a suite of pre-competitive geoscience data, a regional synthesis and a 3D geological model of the area.
  • From 2015, the government progressively placed a temporary hold on exploration applications for ground within the SPA to enable the orderly and optimal development of the area. Read more about the Section 7 exemptions.
  • Ongoing community and stakeholder engagement to better understand the factors important to local communities. This included informing landholders about their rights regarding exploration access to properties, resource and land use studies, and supporting public awareness about future minerals exploration and its regulation.
  • Holding the Stavely Ground Release in 2018 through a competitive, merit-based tender. Six of the 11 blocks within the Stavely Project Area were awarded. Read more about the tender process.
  • Lifting the temporary hold on mineral exploration applications over the remaining area within the SPA in May 2022.

Page last updated: 06 Jun 2024