New South Wales hosts world-class deposits and is a globally significant supplier of precious and base metals. There remains high mineral potential in the state and recent discoveries are showing the potential for NSW to be a supplier of high-tech metals.

Areas with limited exploration

Although NSW has a rich history of minerals production there remains large areas which are sparsely explored due to the depth of cover.

Areas of historical production have been dominated by the:

  • Curnamona Province Broken Hill line of lode Zn – Pb – Ag VAMS.
  • Cobar Basin Structurally Controlled Au +/- base metal deposits.

Areas of more recent development are proving to be just as rich, including the:

  • Macquarie Arc Au – Cu Porphyry and Skarns.
  • Murray Basin heavy mineral sands (HM) deposits.

MinEX CRC National Drilling Initiative

Collecting new data on Group 1 (metallic) minerals in less explored areas in Central and Western NSW

As part of the NSW Minerals Strategy, the NSW Government is providing $16 million to support the MinEx Cooperative Research Centre’s (MinEx CRC) National Drilling Initiative (NDI) to determine whether economically valuable metallic mineral systems lie deep beneath the Earth’s surface in the state's central and far west.

This ten-year program aims to map regional geology and structure and define the potential for metal deposits in less explored areas around Cobar, Broken Hill (Mundi), Dubbo and Forbes. These areas cover (or partially cover) extensions to known mineralised terranes that have seen limited historical exploration activity.

To enable a fair and transparent assessment of exploration applications the Governor of NSW has declared five new Mineral Allocation Areas (MAAs) for Group 1 minerals covering these areas. The MAAs prevent the application for new exploration licences for Group 1 minerals without Ministerial consent. This ensures only high-quality explorers, with strong records of community engagement and environmental compliance, can secure a new exploration licence while the NDI research is taking place. The NSW Government will run an open Expression of Interest process for Group 1 exploration licences within the MAAs every two years until 2027.

New Mineral Allocation Areas

For more information on the MinEX CRC NDI activities in NSW visit

For more information on the exploration licence Expression of Interest and application process in these areas visit

See the full list of Group 1 minerals.

Metallic mineral factsheets
Antimony   Arsenic Bismuth Chromium Cobalt Copper            Gold           
Iron Lead Magnesium Manganese Molybdenum Nickel Platinum
Rare Earths  Scandium Silver Thorium Tin Tungsten Zinc