Land of opportunity down under

20 August 2005

New ways of looking beneath the Australian landscape to boost the rate of mineral discovery will be one of the Open Day public talks presented by Dr Richard Blewett at Geoscience Australia on Sunday 21 August.

Dr Blewett is a structural geologist who joined Geoscience Australia 15 years ago. He works in the area of predictive mineral discovery which examines the ancient movements of crustal plates, old fault-lines and the formation of mineral deposits to understand where minerals are most likely to be located.

"Predictive mineral discovery involves a fundamental shift in exploration practices and cost effectiveness. Minerals are a major part of Australia's exports and demand for minerals is increasing. We need to identify new ore bodies to replace those deposits that are mined out, otherwise our mineral assets will be exhausted. Unfortunately, discoveries are becoming fewer and smaller, while the cost of these dwindling discoveries is rising," he said.

"To support the mining industry in these challenging circumstances, we are now building 3D and 4D images that show the histories of well known mineral areas. Using these images, we can develop predictive tools to search for areas with similar geology and quickly narrow down the prospective areas for detailed exploration. The aim is to provide the mineral exploration industry with more accurate information about potential mineral sites, essentially providing a long-term benefit and advantage that will make Australia more globally competitive," said Dr Blewett.

In addition to Dr Blewett's talk, there will also be talks about the Boxing Day tsunami, mapping the ocean floor, petroleum exploration, and what maps will look like in the future. Other activities at Geoscience Australia's free Open Day include gold panning, rock identification, children's activities to make sun catchers and pet rocks and building tours. Opening hours are from 10am - 4pm. Geoscience Australia is located on the corner of Jerrabomberra Avenue and Hindmarsh Drive, Symonston.

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