Minerals Alert June 2009

  1. In Situ Leach Uranium Mining Best Practice Guide released for comments
  2. Map of Australian Uranium Resources (2009 edition)
  3. New seismic data releases from South Australia
  4. New seismic survey in the Northern Territory
  5. National Geochemical Survey of Australia update
  6. New gravity survey data added to the Australian National Gravity Database
  7. Second edition of the Index of Gravity Surveys released
  8. Broken Hill Exploration Initiative Conference
  9. Update on geophysical data releases
  10. Uncovering Phanerozoic mineral wealth
  11. Onshore Energy Security Program update
  12. About Minerals Alert

1. In Situ Leach Uranium Mining Best Practice Guide released for comments

The Australian Government's policy is that uranium mines will be approved subject to world best practice environmental and safety standards. Geoscience Australia has been engaged by the Department of Resources Energy and Tourism to develop world best practice guidelines for In Situ Leach (ISL) uranium mining in Australia, in consultation with a steering group made up of officials from environmental and resources agencies in the Australian, South Australian, Western Australian and Northern Territory governments. ISL is a well established technology used in more than a quarter of world uranium production.

Following consideration by the steering group, Geoscience Australia has released a draft of the National In Situ Leach Uranium Mining Best Practice Guide for public comment until 30 June 2009.

This draft guide communicates the Australian Government's expectations for ISL mining, with a view to achieving greater certainty that ISL mining projects meet Australian Government policy for consistency in the assessment of ISL mine proposals within multiple government regulatory processes and increased certainty for proponents in preparing ISL proposals. The draft guide covers the main issues of concern with ISL mining - impacts on aquifers, waste disposal and radiation protection.

The point is made that world best practice does not amount to a universal template for ISL mining and recognises that it is dependent on site specific features, particularly the characteristics of groundwater in the mineralised aquifer system.

The guide will be revised in July 2009 to take account of comments received, before being submitted to relevant government Ministers.

A copy of the Guide can be downloaded from the Geoscience Australia website.

Comments on the guide should be emailed to susan.wall@ga.gov.au

For further information contact ian.lambert@ga.gov.au; or phone +61 2 6249 9556.

2. Map of Australian Uranium Resources (2009 edition)

Geoscience Australia has released a new 1:10 000 000 scale colour map, Australian Uranium Resources, which shows the uranium resources (total production plus remaining resources) of geological regions. Major uranium deposits are classified according to the resource size and are plotted on the geological regions. The map also includes uranium mineral occurrences (~1330), a pie-chart showing resources by deposit types and age, and a grade-tonnage diagram showing grade and tonnage of ore.

The map can be downloaded free from the Geoscience Australia website.

For further information, email subhash.jaireth@ga.gov.au; or phone +61 2 6249 9419.

3. New seismic data releases from South Australia

Curnamona-Gawler Link (09GA-CG1)

In January 2009, Primary Industries and Resources South Australia (PIRSA) and Geoscience Australia, through the Onshore Energy Security Program, conducted a deep seismic survey of 145 line kilometres, from west to east across the Adelaide Fold Belt via Hawker. The survey is designated 09GA-CG1, Curnamona-Gawler Link.

The purpose of the survey was to clarify the crustal-scale relationship between the Gawler Craton and Curnamona Province as an aid to identification of areas with potential for mineralisation, hot rock geothermal energy, and/or hydrocarbons. The survey linked together previous Geoscience Australia deep seismic traverses to produce a semi-continuous east-west section from the New South Wales border to Minnipa on Eyre Peninsula.

The unprocessed seismic data for this traverse will become available from Geoscience Australia as soon as QA/QC is complete. This is scheduled for 12 June 2009.

Arrowie Seismic Survey (08GA-A01)

Uninterpreted processed data from the Arrowie Seismic Survey are now available.  Geoscience Australia undertook acquisition of deep seismic reflection in South Australia as part of the Onshore Energy Security Program in June-July 2008. The survey consisted of three traverse lines, one across the Gawler Craton (08GA-G01, 253 km), one across the Curnamona Province (08GA-C01, 262 km) and one in the Arrowie Basin (08GA-A01, 60.4km).

Processing of the Arrowie traverse is now complete. Geoscience Australia's geophysicists are currently processing the Gawler and Curnamona lines and, at this stage, it is planned to release the processed data in September 2009.

For further information, email jenny.maher@ga.gov.au; or phone +61 2 6249 9896.

4. New seismic survey in the Northern Territory

Georgina Basin - Arunta Inlier Survey (09GA-GA1)

As part of the Onshore Energy Security Program, Geoscience Australia in collaboration with the Northern Territory Geological Survey is undertaking a deep seismic survey across the Georgina Basin and the Arunta Inlier, and into the Amadeus Basin. The survey commenced at the end of May and comprises a single 376 km traverse, starting just north of the Sandover Highway and ending near Todd River Downs. The aims of this traverse are to enhance the knowledge of the petroleum prospectivity of the Georgina and Amadeus  Basins and to investigate the uranium potential of the Arunta Inlier.

For further information, email jenny.maher@ga.gov.au; or phone +61 2 6249 9896.

5. National Geochemical Survey of Australia update

The National Geochemical Survey of Australia (NGSA) aims to produce the first geochemical atlas of Australia based on the multi-element analysis of transported regolith samples collected at the outlet of around 1400 large catchments covering 91 per cent of the continent. The project, which is a collaborative venture with the geological surveys of all States and the Northern Territory under the National Geoscience Agreement umbrella, started in January 2007. Recent progress includes:

  • sample collection nationally has reached 80 per cent
  • sampling is completed in Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland
  • sampling in the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia is ongoing and will conclude by September 2009
  • 50 per cent of the total samples have been submitted for analysis
  • the NGSA Sample Preparation Manual has been released, the companion volume to the NGSA Field Manual
  • project updates will be presented at the 24th International Applied Geochemistry Symposium in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, in early June and at the 7th International Conference on Geomorphology in Melbourne in early July 2009.

View background information on the NGSA project and an updated map of sampling progress as at 30 April 2009.

For further information, email patrice.decaritat@ga.gov.au; or phone +61 2 6249 9378.

6. New gravity survey data added to the Australian National Gravity Database

In May 2009, 7796 new gravity stations were added to the Australian National Gravity Database from 10 open file company surveys.  All data are located in Queensland and are situated on the 1:1 million scale map sheet areas for Cloncurry, Townsville and Clermont. The new data have been supplied to Geoscience Australia by the Geological Survey of Queensland.

Open file data in the Australian National Gravity Database can be obtained free-of-charge using the Geophysical Archive Data Delivery System (GADDS).

For further information, email mario.bacchin@ga.gov.au;  or phone +61 2 6249 9308.

7. Second edition of the Index of Gravity Surveys released

The second edition of the Index of Gravity Surveys complied by P. Wynne and M. Bacchin, Geoscience Record 2009/007, was released on 27 May 2009. The new edition is available for download from Geoscience Australia's website and replaces the first edition released in 2006. This edition is the latest compilation of metadata for over 1700 gravity surveys held in the Australian National Gravity Database.

Metadata for each survey are presented in a tabular format, one survey per page.

Two lookup tables are provided to help clients identify surveys:

  • a table listing surveys in alphabetical order with their corresponding Geoscience Australia Survey Identification numbers, and
  • a table listing all the 1:1 million scale map sheets covering continental Australia along with the survey numbers of the surveys located on each map sheet.

Included in the Index are two maps which show the gravity coverage over Australia and the gravity station locality.

The Index of Gravity Surveys 2nd edition can be downloaded from Geoscience Australia website.

For further information, email phill.wynne@ga.gov.au; or phone +61 2 6249 9463.

8. Broken Hill Exploration Initiative Conference

A conference will be held in Broken Hill from 29 September - 1 October 2009 to report on new insights into exploration geoscience in the Curnamona Craton and adjacent areas. This is being organised jointly by the NSW Department of Primary Industries, Primary Industries and Resources South Australia and Geoscience Australia.

Further information on this conference is available from the NSW Department of Primary Industries; or email russell.korsch@ga.gov.au; or phone +61 2 6249 9495.

9. Update on geophysical data releases

The current status of Geoscience Australia's geophysical survey data acquisition is available in a comprehensive table on the Geoscience Australia website.

The South Yilgarn in Western Australia and Barkly in the Northern Territory gravity surveys are expected to commence in the first two weeks of June 2009.

For further information, email murray.richardson@ga.gov.au; or phone +61 2 6249 9229.

10. Uncovering Phanerozoic mineral wealth

Much of Australia's mineral wealth has been derived historically from both current and historic deposits related to the Phanerozoic rocks of eastern Australia.  Geoscience Australia has undertaken a geodynamic synthesis of the Phanerozoic of eastern Australia to give mineral explorers clearer information on where to prospect for large accessible economic mineral reserves.

Further information is available in the June 2009 issue of AusGeo News.

11. Onshore Energy Security Program update

Geoscience Australia's Onshore Energy Security Program is applying the latest geoscientific imaging and mapping technology to boost investment in exploration for onshore energy resources such as petroleum, uranium, thorium and geothermal energy. This update reports on several current surveys, including a seismic survey in South Australia, an airborne electromagnetic survey in the Northern Territory and the National Geochemical Survey of Australia. It also includes updates on the processing of data acquired during earlier surveys undertaken as part of the Program.

Further information is available in the June 2009 issue of AusGeo News.

12. About Minerals Alert

For more information contact Mike Huleatt on +61 2 6249 9087 or email mike.huleatt@ga.gov.au.

To view past editions of Geoscience Australia's Minerals Alert, visit the Minerals Alert Newsletter Archive.

Topic contact: media@ga.gov.au Last updated: October 4, 2013