Completed 2024 Economic Fairways

Solar panels in the outback 

Watch the Economic Fairways Mapper Team video - Winner of the 2023 Eureka Prize for Innovative Research in Sustainability (40 sec)

Informing resource development projects across Australia. 

The Economic Fairways project was a collaboration between Geoscience Australia and Monash University. The project focused on the development and application of new resource economic modelling algorithms for mineral (including critical commodities), energy (including hydrogen), and groundwater systems. Our approach sought to combine the geoscience knowledge and datasets of Geoscience Australia with world-leading techno-economic modelling developed at Monash University. A key product of the project is the national Economic Fairways Mapper - a free, online tool that enables rapid, high-level economic appraisal of the opportunities and challenges for resource development projects.  


The Economic Fairways project sought to build a better understanding of how geoscientific considerations and the physical environment interact to influence resource potential across Australia. Through the application of advanced mapping technology, the Economic Fairways Mapper was designed to help inform decision-makers across industry, government, finance and communities.  

What we did  

Through the Exploring for the Future program, the Economic Fairways Mapper tool and underlying software were developed to enable analysis for a range of commodity types, including: 

  • base and precious metals 
  • critical minerals 
  • hydrogen and ammonia 
  • green steel 
  • hydrocarbons 
  • groundwater. 

The analysis provided by the Economic Fairways Mapper was underpinned by the open-source Bluecap software repository (available via Geoscience Australia’s GitHub account) which was developed in the Python programming language. 

Both the Economic Fairways Mapper and the Bluecap software repository were updated during the Exploring for the Future program. 

In recognition of the innovation and impact of the Economic Fairways Mapper, the project team won the 2023 Australian Museum’s University of Sydney Eureka Prize for Innovative Research in Sustainability. This highlights the role of the tool to facilitate informed decision-making in planning the renewable energy and mineral projects that will be needed to support a net-zero emissions future.

The Economic Fairways Mapper on the computer screen

The Economic Fairways Mapper is a free online tool available from Geoscience Australia’s Portal at


The free online Economic Fairways Mapper tool can be accessed via the Geoscience Australia Portal under 'Tools'. It can currently be used to identify regions that are economically viable for the following commodities: 

  • copper-zinc 
  • gold 
  • green steel (beta version) 
  • hydrogen 
  • lead-zinc-silver 
  • nickel 
  • phosphate 
  • potash.  

Hydrogen Economic Fairways Tool (HEFT) 

HEFT is designed to support decision-making by policymakers and investors on the location of new infrastructure and development of hydrogen hubs in Australia. It considers both hydrogen produced from renewable energy (such as wind and solar) and from fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage.   

Green Steel Economic Fairways Mapper tool – Beta release

The Green Steel Economic Fairways Mapper tool combines large-scale datasets to provide a high-level geospatial analysis of the regional opportunities and potential for green hydrogen, iron and steel developments across Australia. It allows users to vary the capacities and costs of technologies needed for low-carbon steelmaking. Starting from these assumptions, the tool analyses large volumes of renewable energy data to model the costs of steel production and how these vary spatially. The beta release focuses on the regional availability of renewable energy and how hourly renewable energy performance influences storage and production costs in iron and steelmaking.   


Economic Fairways was a collaboration between Monash University and Geoscience Australia. It involved multi-disciplinary collaboration with other projects across the Exploring for the Future program, including hydrogen studies, carbon capture and storage, and national mine waste assessment. 

Important to know 

All data produced by Geoscience Australia, including the data from this study, is publicly available through the Geoscience Australia’s Portalafter quality assurance has been performed. 

Contact us 

General enquiries: 1800 800 173,