The Queensland government is touting the discovery of evidence of a "vast reserve" of rare earth minerals in the state's west as a major economic boon.
The apparent discovery of "vast reserves" of rare earth minerals in the state's west could turn into a $9 billion honey pot for Queensland, the government says.
The sought-after minerals are believed to be within rare geological pipe structures that were unearthed in a remote area of western Queensland, southwest of Mount Isa, and only previously found in a handful of places around the globe.
"We have the potential here in Queensland for a major new resource," Natural Resources and Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said in Brisbane on Sunday.
"This could potentially bring up to $9 billion to the economy of Queensland (and that) is a conservative figure."
Dr Lynham said the government would release the tenements as soon as possible to open the sites up for exploration.
The pipes are considered part of the so-called Diamantina Minerals Province, which stretches from Fifield in NSW up to the Merlin diamond mine in the Northern Territory, and are likely to also contain platinum, gold, silver and possibly diamonds.
It's hoped minerals that are used for advanced technologies such as fuel cells, mobile phones and hybrid vehicle batteries will be uncovered and prove enticing for companies looking to capitalise on a shift from a carbon-based economy.
"An opportunity exists for the right type of company to maximise this detailed geological information and take it to the next step commercially," Dr Lynham said.