Issues Magazine

Data Analysis Reveals Australia’s Mineral Potential


Geoscience Australia

Australia has significant potential for new mineral and energy resources, according to analysis of data obtained under the Australian Government’s Energy Security Initiative.

The Chief Executive of Geoscience Australia, Dr Chris Pigram, told a conference of national and international exploration and mining executives in Perth in March 2012 that comprehensive analysis of a wide range of specialised data indicates Australia has significant frontier exploration opportunities.

“Analysis of a wide range of geological and geophysical data reveals that many geological provinces associated with known mineralisation extend under cover into so-called ‘greenfield areas’, challenging the widely held belief that Australia is a mature exploration destination,” Dr Pigram said.

“It confirms that unexplored areas have the potential for world-class deposits which could bring economic and social benefits to rival existing mineral provinces such as Mount Isa, Broken Hill and Kalgoorlie,” he said.

During the past 50 years, most major mineral resource discoveries have been in areas of rock outcrop and within about 100 metres of the surface. An exception to this was the Olympic Dam copper–uranium–gold deposit, which was discovered in 1975 almost 300 metres below the surface using, among other data, magnetic and gravity data acquired by Geoscience Australia’s predecessor, the Bureau of Mineral Resources.

“Analysis of seismic, airborne electromagnetic, gravity, geochemical and radiometric survey data and the application of geochronology and other geoscientific knowledge across Australia reveal that many geological provinces have the potential for other significant deposits at depth,” Dr Pigram said.

“The quality data, along with the improved knowledge of Australia’s continental structure and advances in exploration and mining techniques, have created unprecedented opportunities to explore areas under the surface cover material,” he said.

“The opportunities presented in Australia today are the most lucrative we have seen for many decades,” he said.