National Geochemical Survey reaches milestone

10 June 2008

One of the most extensive geochemical data sampling and analysis projects ever undertaken has completed 50 percent of its collection phase.

Gathering geochemicial samples (Photo courtesy of Gary Burton [NSW DPI])

The project is part of Geoscience Australia's Onshore Energy Security Program and involves the collection of samples from around 1400 large catchments across Australia in a cooperative venture with State and Territory agencies.

The project is aimed at providing information at the national scale on the concentrations of more than 60 mineral elements in each catchment, particularly those related to energy, including uranium and thorium.

The surveys are gathering geochemical data by sampling transported regolith which is deposited close to the outlet of each catchment. A surface and a deeper sample are being collected at each site using a sampling method developed in a series of pilot projects carried out in the New South Wales and Victorian Riverina region, the northern New South Wales Thomson region and in the Gawler region of South Australia.

Project coordinator, Dr Patrice de Caritat, said that the primary aim of the survey is to provide pre-competitive data and knowledge to support exploration for energy resources in Australia.

"The results of the survey will improve the existing knowledge of the concentrations and distributions of energy-related elements such as uranium and thorium as well as indicators of geothermal energy sources at the national scale," Dr de Caritat said.

"As well as assisting with expanding our knowledge about potential energy sources, the survey will pave the way for new mineral discoveries," he said.

Dr de Caritat said the huge task of preparing the samples for analysis is under way with analysis due to start later this year. A web-based geochemical atlas and accompanying report are scheduled for completion by June 2011.

"The data compilation, analysis and presentation in the web-based atlas and report will provide mining and exploration companies with a valuable resource in the search for new mineral deposits and sources of energy well into the future," Dr de Caritat said.

For more information visit the National Geochemical Survey of Australia, the Onshore Energy Security Program or Geoscience Australia's AusGeo News.

Topic contact: Last updated: October 4, 2013