The hunt steps up for energy resources

24 May 2007

Geoscience Australia is stepping up its data acquisition as part of the Australian Government's Onshore Energy Security Initiative announced in August 2006.

Chief of the agency's Onshore Energy and Minerals Division, Dr James Johnson, said that current work was being carried out in cooperation with State and Territory government geological survey organisations.

Dr Johnson said that as part of the program an extensive seismic survey was underway on lines extending from Cloncurry north and east to Georgetown and south to Charters Towers.

"The survey will cover about 1230 kilometres and complement seismic data already gathered in the Mount Isa/Cloncurry region. It will add significantly to the knowledge about the geological architecture of the region and the potential for energy resources such as uranium, thorium and hot rocks," Dr Johnson said.

"Geoscience Australia will also start a survey this week of gravity measurements in the Cooper Basin in south-west Queensland. It will identify the potential for hot rocks up to three kilometres below the surface sediments as part of an ongoing program to locate possible sources for geothermal energy.

"The gravity readings will be undertaken at a total of 3,537 points over 56,590 square kilometres on a four kilometre station spacing," Dr Johnson said.

In another collaborative project, Primary Industries and Resources South Australia has begun work to re-analyse material from the Gawler Craton in the State's north east for possible uranium and thorium as well as more than 20 other elements related to mineralisation.

Dr Johnson said assistance was also being provided to the Geological Survey of Western Australia to make available seismic tapes from surveys carried out two decades ago in the Canning Basin in the State's north. The data is to be transferred to digital format.

"These cooperative ventures, along with other projects being undertaken by Geoscience Australia, will help us to better understand the potential for energy resources such as onshore petroleum, uranium, thorium and geothermal energy from hot rocks," Dr Johnson said.

"The information gathered during the surveys and the re-evaluation of existing data will go a long way towards developing a greater understanding of how and where new energy resources may exist in the landscape," he said.

Further information on Geoscience Australia's activities in the Australian Government's Energy Security Initiative can be obtained from an article in the December 2006 issue of AusGeo News.

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