Exploring for the Future

Geoscience Australia invites interested companies to subscribe to a regional airborne electromagnetic survey in northern Australia. Find out more.


Exploring for the Future is a new $100.5 million initiative by the Australian Government that aims to boost Australia's attractiveness as a destination for investment in resource exploration.

Australia is fortunate to be rich in natural resources, including minerals, energy and groundwater. These resources are essential for life and the sustainable development of our society. They are also a foundation for the economic successes that our country has enjoyed for decades. It is therefore vital that we encourage and support commercial exploration activities to maintain a healthy supply of mineral, energy and groundwater resources into the future. Exploring for the Future seeks to do that.


Northern Australia comprises
approximately 50 per cent of the
country. The programme also
investigates a small area in South Australia.

This four-year programme focusses on northern Australia. As highlighted in the Australian Government's White Paper on Developing northern Australia, this under-explored region offers enormous potential for industry development and is advantageously close to major global markets.

Geoscience Australia's leading researchers will use innovative techniques to gather new pre-competitive data and information, on an unprecedented scale, about the potential mineral, energy and groundwater resources concealed beneath the surface. Importantly, this work will be undertaken in greenfield areas where this potential is completely unknown and thus the programme will have the greatest impact.

  • The minerals component focuses on understanding the geological evolution of northern Australia and through that, identifying which geological terrains have greater potential for various mineral deposit types. The activities are aligned with the UNCOVER priority areas identified in the AMIRA Roadmap for Exploration Under Cover.
  • The energy component focuses on exploring sedimentary basins to better understand the location and scale of potential oil and gas resources.
  • The groundwater component focusses on assessing the location, quantity and quality of groundwater, and rates of use or depletion, to identify potential opportunities for irrigated agriculture, mineral and energy development, and community water supply.

Current activities

  • Geoscience Australia, in collaboration with the Northern Territory Geological Survey, is deploying to different parts of the Territory specialised equipment to map the electrical conductivity of the ground to better understand the location of mineral and energy resources.
  • Geoscience Australia is scouting the route across the Northern Territory and Queensland for a new >550 km long regional seismic line, which will be used to help identify the location and size of possible oil and gas resources.
  • Planning on collaborative projects with the Western Australian, Northern Territory, Queensland and South Australian governments is underway.

Data and information releases

Geoscience Australia is releasing the pre-competitive data and information on an ongoing basis over the four years to support and de-risk resource decision making and investment. when available all data and information will be published on this web page.

Programme partners

Geoscience Australia is partnering with the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australian, and Western Australian Governments to augment and facilitate the delivery of the programme.

The Mining Equipment, Technology and Services sector is also being contracted to undertake some of the fieldwork, providing new jobs in regional areas.

Media announcements

8 December 2016: Discovering Australia's next generation of resources
3 May 2016: Budget boosts resources innovation and investment

More information

Email: eftf@ga.gov.au
Ph: 1800 870 833