20 September 2000 - 00/419
Re-exploring mineral hotspots: old provinces, new potential
A range of innovative projects from Geoscience Australia has highlighted the renewed potential of some of Australia's best-known mineral provinces. The Geoscience Australia Minerals Showcase was launched today by Warren Entsch, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources, at Mining 2000, the largest mining convention ever to be held in the Southern Hemisphere.
"Australia is extremely fortunate in its abundance of mineral resources. We are world leaders in current reserves of lead, mineral sands, tantalum, uranium, silver and zinc.
"In 99/2000 alone, the resources sector contributed $43.8 billion in exports to the Australian economy," Mr Entsch said.
"However, new mineral deposits are becoming harder to find and more advanced technologies are always needed to re-explore known areas.
"In this climate Geoscience Australia plays a pivotal role with their sophisticated geo-scientific programs and databases.
"As part of the National Geoscience Mapping Accord (NGMA), Geoscience Australia, along with its state and territory partners, has gone back to some of Australia's best known minerals locations to find out if they will yield even more treasures for Australia's resource industry," Mr Entsch said.
Geoscience Australia has produced a range of new products aimed to reveal new potential of mineral provinces thought to have been over explored. The new products are:
"The Broken Hill community was facing an uncertain future in 1994 following industry forecasts that the Broken Hill ore body would be exhausted within 10-12 years.
"The Broken Hill Exploration Initiative (BHEI) commenced in 1994 with a view to securing the long term economic prosperity of Broken Hill and Port Pirie.
"Since the initiative began, the pace of exploration activity in the Curnamona Province increased significantly, so much so that the region is now regarded as one of the 'hot spots' for mineral exploration in Australia.
"The Geoscience Australia Minerals Showcase is good news for Australia's mining industry. New technologies and methods mean these locations still have more to offer explorers, much more than previously realised," Mr Entsch said.
Geoscience Australia minerals showcase: "Old province, new potential"
Broken HillOlary Region Atlas and CD (Curnamona Province)
Geoscience Australia has acquired and brought together several new datasets and concepts on the geological and metallogenic evolution of the Curnamona Province to encourage industry to adopt new exploration strategies.
Geoscience Australia's new datasets contain valuable information on the geology and age of the Curnamona region, and includes data on the geophysics, geochemistry, physical properties and mineral potential.
North Pilbara Atlas
The Archaean rocks of the North Pilbara Craton are world famous, as they provide excellent insights into the evolution of the early earth.
These well-exposed rocks have been mostly mapped by standard geological methods to date.
The Pilbara project has provided regional thematic synthesis datasets enabling more robust models be developed to encompass the entire Archaean era.
A new 36 plate full-colour atlas illustrates the richness of the Pilbara's geology, and has been developed by the joint Geoscience Australia – Geological Survey of Western Australia (GSWA) North Pilbara project.
This atlas is an essential publication for mineral exploration companies, academics, and those working on the land in the North Pilbara.
Eastern Goldfields Maps
The Eastern Goldfields Province of the Yilgarn Craton of Western Australia continues to be Australia's main source of gold and nickel, worth approximately A$4.8 billion per annum in export earnings.
In addition to gold and nickel, the region hosts deposits of many other mineral commodities including copper, lead, zinc, silver, rare earth elements, uranium, vanadium, and phosphate.
Considerable exploration potential remains throughout the region, particularly in areas with thin cover.
The recently collected data show the continuous distribution of the ancient rocks through the thin ground cover.
The maps are significant tools to assist the mineral industry explore still highly prospective and mineral-rich terrane.
The Project was a joint undertaking between Geoscience Australia and GSWA aimed at providing an improved geoscientific knowledge base to enable more effective mineral exploration throughout the region.
NABRE (the North Australian Basins Resource Evaluation)
The sedimentary rocks of the north Australian McArthurMount IsaCloncurry mineral belt host the world's most important zinc repository.
The project, undertaken by Geoscience Australia the Queensland Department of Minerals and Energy and the Northern Territory Geological Survey, combines mineral and petroleum exploration techniques to establish the evolution of "basement".
In turn this led to the identification of a number of new exploration play concepts, including the Elizabeth Creek Prospect.
East Kimberley Bulletin
The East Kimberley region represents one of the most extensively mineralised areas in Australia. It hosts a range of deposits containing platinum-group elements, chromium, nickel, copper, cobalt, titanium, vanadium, iron, and gold.
Despite intensive exploration during the past four decades and the discovery of many prospects, no economic deposits associated with the layered intrusions have been found in the East Kimberley.
Geoscience Australia's work reported in the Bulletin has stimulated a major resurgence of exploration activities in the East Kimberley, which is now recognised as one of the most prospective and actively explored mafic–ultramafic igneous provinces in Australia.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please call the
Media Hotline 1800 882 035 (24 hour)
Unless otherwise noted, all Geoscience Australia material on this website is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence.