Metallic minerals

Periodic table of commodities within NSW

New South Wales is a major producer of gold, copper, zinc, silver and lead. It is also prospective for tin, tungsten, iron, arsenic, antimony, molybdenum, manganese, bismuth, chromium, nickel, platinum, uranium and thorium. A wide variety of other metals including new technology ("hi tech") and strategic metals are known.

Most occurrences are in the exposed basement areas of orogens. A similar density of deposits may occur in vast areas where surficial sediments and basins cover the basement sequences, especially in the central and western parts of the State.

Departmental records contain extensive literature on the known mineral occurrences in NSW. These records are available online via DIGS® External link. Discover more about mineral occurrences in NSW using MinView External link.

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

Industrial minerals

Industrial minerals are vital to the development of a growing state like NSW. They include limestone, brick clay and gypsum that are critical for local markets including agriculture, building and manufacturing.

NSW is also a significant international exporter of heavy mineral sands (rutile, zircon and ilmenite), clay minerals, diatomite, gypsum, magnetite and magnesium minerals from magnesite. Though well known for gemstones such as the unique black opal, NSW has also been a significant producer of industrial diamonds, corundum, rhodonite and topaz (silexite).

Industrial minerals occur in a vast range of geological associations. Among the most important is the Murray Basin, a world-class province for heavy mineral sands. Limestone and dolomite are produced in large quantities. Such rocks also host skarn deposits, which are important sources of garnet, iron ore, industrial magnetite and wollastonite.

Regolith is the layer of weathered rock and soil that overlies fresh bedrock. Well-developed regolith profiles occur widely in NSW and host important deposits such as bauxite, bentonite, kaolinite, vermiculite, channel iron and magnesite. Large evaporite deposits are important sources of gypsum and sodium salt.


Coal contributes significantly to the State's economy and is composed primarily of carbon along with variable quantities of other elements, chiefly hydrogen, sulfur, oxygen, and nitrogen. Coal is formed in sedimentary basins where organic matter (mainly plant remains) is buried and subjected to elevated temperature and pressure. In general terms, the higher the temperature and pressure the better the quality of coal. The quality of coal is also determined by the moisture content and the type and amount of impurities. Two types of coal are mined in New South Wales: thermal coal (used for power generation) and coking coal, also known as metallurgical coal (used in the production of steel).

Coal factsheets
Coking Coal  Thermal Coal
For further information
Mineral systems studies
+61 (0)2 4063 6654
Mineral systems studies, Geological Survey of New South Wales, PO Box 344, Hunter Region Mail Centre NSW 2310
516 High Street Maitland NSW 2320 Map
Coal Resource Assessment and Advice
+61 (0)2 4063 6543
Coal Assessment & Advice, Geological Survey of New South Wales, PO Box 344, Hunter Region Mail Centre NSW 2310
516 High Street Maitland NSW 2320 Map