Hundreds of local jobs are expected to be created in Broken Hill attached to a project that will aim to recycle mine waste.
The NSW Government announced it will invest $600,000 towards investigating whether the waste could contain valuable critical minerals to drive growth in several sectors.
Deputy Premier Paul Toole and Minister for Western NSW Dugald Saunders visited the Silver City this week to make the announcement at Cobalt Blue, the company who has taken on the project.
Mr Toole said up to 400 jobs could be on offer as a result of this project.
“These are four hundred highly paid, highly skilled jobs that can be created right here in Broken Hill,” he said.
“This has a great opportunity to expand the local economy, bring new services here to the area and bring people to the region.”
The project will be delivered as part of the NSW Critical Minerals and High-Tech Metals Strategy and Geoscience Australia’s Exploring for the Future Program.
Mine waste samples will initially be taken from 10 sites across NSW.
The minerals would help to drive growth in the advanced manufacturing, defence and renewables sectors while helping to address a global supply shortage.
“These are going to be the metals and the minerals that are going to be needed for future industry in the state,” Mr Toole said.
The Ministers were guided on a tour of the Cobalt Blue Processing Demonstration Plant on Wednesday morning.
Cobalt Blue Chief Executive Officer, Joe Kaderavek, said it is an “exciting” initiative that can highlight new opportunities to recover valuable materials including battery metals.
“Mine re-commercialisation is a significant area of interest and recycling of these valuable metals is a key building block of our future circular economy,” he said.
A systemic review of opportunities will be undertaken before any production work can commence.
Mr Kaderavek expects the final investment decision to be complete by third quarter next year before first production in the second half of 2025.
He said the two primary outcomes of the project are reclamation of critical minerals and rehabilitation.
“We will leave the landscape in a better environmental state than what we started with” Mr Kaderavek said.
Mr Saunders said the NSW Government has commitment to the Far West region, signified by the various funding announcements made earlier this week.
“We realise that this is absolutely a growth area of NSW and the commitment is there,” he said.
“We will be here as often as we can be to support that.
“The investment behind that I think shows definitely there’s opportunity for people to be involved along the way.”