Minerals Alert August 2013

A monthly online newsletter with product news, data releases and projects relating to the minerals and energy exploration industry.

  1. Geo-Region of the Month - Pine Creek Orogen, Northern Territory
  2. Regolith Map of Australia: First edition, 2013
  3. New report on Critical commodities for a high-tech world: Australia's potential to supply global demand
  4. Update on geophysical data releases
  5. About Minerals Alert

1. Geo-Region of the Month - Pine Creek Orogen, Northern Territory

Each month Geoscience Australia will highlight a range of significant products relating to key Australian mineral provinces which have been released over the past 10 years and may be of interest to current explorers.

This month's Geo-Region is the Pine Creek Orogen in the Northern Territory. The highlighted products, which are available as a free download, are:

  1. Geochronological Data - Geoscience Australia and the Northern Territory Geological Survey (NTGS) External site link cooperatively undertake U-Pb geochronological dating of samples from the Northern Territory. Geochronological analyses of zircon and monazite minerals from samples collected in NTGS field projects is undertaken using a Sensitive High Resolution Ion Microprobe (SHRIMP). A large number of geochronology reports on this work can be downloaded from the NTGS website External site link.
  2. Airborne Electromagnetic Survey (AEM) - Geoscience Australia released a comprehensive interpretation report on the Pine Creek airborne electromagnetic (AEM) survey combined with the NTGS survey data. The survey was designed to deliver reliable, pre-competitive AEM data to promote exploration for uranium, copper-gold, base metals, tin and nickel in both brownfield and greenfield regions. The area covered hosts several major uranium deposits, including the Ranger uranium mine, Rum Jungle and Nabarlek. A Geoscience Australia interpretation record summarises the AEM data, processing, inversions, interpretation and implications for exploration for uranium and other commodities. Also available are:
  3. Mineral Systems Studies - A range of studies have been carried out in Geoscience Australia, including:
  4. Geological Studies - Evidence for Neoarchean basement External site link, the Paleoproterozoic stratigraphy External site link, and the tectonic evolution External site link of the Pine Creek Orogen have been reviewed in recent issues of the journal Precambrian Research.
For further information, please email Terry Mernagh at terry.mernagh@ga.gov.au; or phone +61 2 6249 9640.

2. Regolith Map of Australia: First Edition, 2013

The first edition of an innovative Regolith Map of Australia at 1:5 000 000 scale is now available. This first edition covers Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory. During 2014, Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania will be finalised.

Seamless mapping of the regolith of the entire continent is a product of collaboration between Geoscience Australia and the State and Territory Geological Surveys. In the context of the 'UNCOVER' External site link Australian vision for exploration geoscience, the national Regolith Map will be a fundamental tool in exploration for resources under cover.

The regolith is a rich source of geological information. Some important mineral systems are developed within it. Elsewhere it is the medium for dispersing the signatures of buried mineral systems. It is also the primary surface available to geological remote sensing such as the ASTER satellite. More than 80% of the Australian continent is covered by regolith and sedimentary basins. Geoscience Australia, the Cooperative Research Centres for Landscape Evolution and Environments and Mineral Exploration (CRC LEME) External site link, the State/NT geological surveys, university groups, and industry explorers, have systematically investigated the surficial, unconsolidated and weathered materials over the past three decades. The work continues and its results are brought together here in the first seamless national map, which is being made available to guide explorers in using knowledge of the regolith in the search for economic resources. 

The first edition PDF map and digital data are available for free download.

In addition to these data, a large range of supplementary publications, specifically targeting the regolith, in selected areas across Australia, are available for download from the CRC LEME website External site link.

For further information, please email Mike Craig at mike.craig@ga.gov.au or phone +61 2 6249 9453.

3. New report on Critical commodities for a high-tech world: Australia's potential to supply global demand

This report presents geoscientific and other information highlighting Australia's potential to play a major role in meeting global demand for commodities used in the production of high-tech devices such as smart phones and flat screen televisions, as well as in renewable energy and low-emissions technologies such as wind power generators and electric cars.

Of the 34 metal, non-metal and mineral commodities assessed in the report, five metals or groups of metals (chromium, cobalt, nickel, platinum-group elements and rare-earth elements) are listed as having high (category 1) potential to be found and produced in Australia, and are among those considered by the European Union, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States of America as highly critical to their economies. Although less critical, copper and zirconium were also identified with category 1 resource potential. A further 15 commodities were assessed as having category 2 resource potential in Australia.

This two-part report presents (1) an overview of critical commodities and their uses; which commodities are considered critical by the major economies and why; and an analysis of the opportunities for the Australian mining, exploration and mineral processing industries to supply the critical commodities, and (2) a comprehensive synthesis of the geology of critical commodities within a mineral systems framework, and discussion of Australian resources and potential. The appendix comprises summary information on each of the 34 commodities, including global supply and demand data.

The report on Critical commodities for a high-tech world: Australia's potential to supply global demand will be available for free download in mid August.

For further information, please email Roger Skirrow at roger.skirrow@ga.gov.au or phone +61 2 6249 9442.

4. Update on geophysical data releases

Geoscience Australia is managing the geophysical data acquisition programs in Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

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

Minerals Alert Geophysical Surveys Table - survey boundary polygons in MapInfo TAB format.

To obtain further details on the survey acquisition, please email murray.richardson@ga.gov.au; or phone +61 2 6249 9229.

5. About Minerals Alert

For more information, please email leesa.carson@ga.gov.au; or phone +61 2 6249 9872.

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

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