The Queensland Government will sink millions into a plan to stimulate mining and exploration in the state’s mineral-rich north-west.

There are just over 100 small caps exploring for everything from gold and copper to manganese and cobalt in Queensland.

A lot of them are in the North West Mineral Province, which contains about 75 per cent of the state’s copper, lead, zinc, silver, gold and phosphate deposits.

The new plan, announced ahead of today’s state budget, included $80m towards reducing freight charges on the Mount Isa Line and $30m towards building a new container terminal at the Port of Townsville.

Queensland Treasurer Jackie Trad said the investment would promote mining and exploration investment in the region.

“Our state’s economy is stronger when we have a reliable supply of minerals for export,” Trad says. “We can improve reliability with better transport infrastructure and that’s what this plan will do.

“Building a new common user rail freight terminal at the port will make the Mount Isa Line more attractive for exporters and take trucks off the Flinders Highway and Townsville’s roads.”

Transport and Main Roads minister Mark Bailey said the Mount Isa Line was critical for North Queensland’s economy — making it more efficient and cost competitive was vital to support and grow resources exports in the region.

The government had previously announced a $30.9 million, four-year geological program to help identify the next generation of north-west resources projects.