January 2014: Press Release: Geoscience Australia and Deep Exploration Technologies CRC to Collaborate on Uncovering New Mineral Provinces and New Mineral Exploration Technologies

Posted on January 28, 2014 by DET CRC

Geoscience Australia and Deep Exploration Technologies Cooperative Research Centre (DET CRC) have reached agreement to collaborate on regional drilling to reveal the hidden mineral potential of Australia‟s buried but prospective geology. The new agreement will facilitate the deployment of transformational technologies for successful mineral exploration though the cover rocks obscuring prospective geology.

Australia’s share of global mineral exploration expenditure has dropped from  20% in the 1990s to ~12% in 2013. This decline has paralleled a decline in discovery of new major mineral deposits over the same period both in Australia and world-wide.  Decreasing mineral exploration success and expenditure in Australia reflects the fact that relatively easy-to-find mineral deposits with a surface expression have largely been discovered. New mineral provinces must be found hidden beneath barren cover rocks and new technologies are needed to search more efficiently and effectively.

During 2014, DET CRC will manage a drilling program on behalf of Geoscience Australia and the Geological Survey of Victoria in the Stavely Zone of western Victoria.  Through this drilling program, Geoscience Australia and the Geological Survey of Victoria will seek to test a new geological interpretation of the region and to uncover the key geological indicators of potential new mineral provinces hosting metals such as copper, gold, nickel and base metals.

DET CRC will deploy conventional diamond drilling, together with for the first-time, new real-time sensing technologies both downhole and top-of-hole.  DET CRC will, for example, in collaboration with partners CSIRO, Imdex and Olympus deploy its Lab-at-RigTM analytical system providing geochemical and mineralogical information on drilling samples as they are recovered.  The data will be uploaded to the internet for real-time, remote access.  Such new technologies seek to inform drilling decisions and, in due course, to replace time- consuming and expensive lab-based assays of drilling samples.

Richard Hillis, DET CRC CEO, commented “This collaboration provides an opportunity to field test and ‘pull through’ the new technologies that will be required to explore the 80% of the Australian continent where mineral deposits are hidden beneath barren cover.  It is also a great example of different organisations collaborating under the ‘UNCOVER’ mineral exploration strategy of the Australian Academy of Science.”

Dr Andy Barnicoat, Chief of Geoscience Australia‟s Minerals Division, said “our goal is to provide pre-competitive data on the mineral potential of unexplored areas of Australia where prospective rocks are obscured by barren cover.  Drilling provides a critical source of information to confirm the nature of concealed geology, which reduces the technical risk to mineral explorers. Through this collaboration we will not only undertake this advanced drilling, but also help develop the new technologies that are required for cost-effective and successful mineral exploration through cover, thereby assisting exploration in all covered areas of the Australian continent.”

For further information, or to arrange interviews:

Marcus La Forgia
08 8363 6811
0421 585 740

Geoscience Australia
24 hour Media Hotline: 1800 882 035
Topic contact:  media@ga.gov.au