Communities across the south-west, including Hamilton and Mortlake, have been asked to comment on mineral exploration licence applications.
Around 11,000 square kilometres of ground was made available for applications on May 2.
The area is within a geological zone known as the Stavely Arc, which has potential for discoveries of copper, other base metals, gold, mineral sands and gypsum.
Earth Resource Regulation has now received applications to explore in the area and is conducting an initial assessment of submissions.
After this review, mineral explorers will have 14 days to advertise their licence application.
Explorers must publicise the comment period for their applications with advertisements to appear in local newspapers.
Community members will have 21 days from the appearance of the last advertisement to submit a comment.
Applications open for public comment are listed at earthresources.vic.gov.au/have-your-say.
Following the public submission period, Earth Resources Regulation will assess each application taking into consideration relevant community comments. These include whether the applicant is fit and proper to hold a licence, they have a suitable proposal and can fund activities.
In 2020, across local council areas within the Stavely Arc the minerals sector invested $130 million to the local economy and paid almost $70 million in wages to almost 450 workers.
Minerals exploration is a very different activity to mining.
Explorers use low-impact methods to understand local geology and look for evidence of minerals over a large area, then typically focus activities on a smaller zone.
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