Paterson Project

December 2018 — Given current mineral exploration interest in the Paterson Province here is an overview of previous GA projects in the region

Due to the complexity of this figure, no alternative description has been provided. Please contact for an alternative description

Figure 1: Paterson Province WA.
(source: Geological Survey of Western
Australia 2018, Paterson Orogeny
extracted from GeoVIEW.WA. on 19/11/2018
Perth, Western Australia: Department
of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.)

Geo-Region Overview

The Paterson Province in Western Australia (Fig 1) covers around 30 000 km2 to the east of the Hamersley Basin and southwest of the Canning Basin. It consists of Early to Middle Proterozoic high grade metamorphic rocks, acid and basic intrusive rocks, shelf sediments and minor younger granite intrusive rocks. The region contains poorly exposed Neoproterozoic sedimentary successions in the northwest Paterson Province, which are host to significant deposits of:

  • gold-copper (Telfer, Magnum)
  • base metal (Nifty, Maroochydore)
  • uranium (Kintyre).

The Paterson region is considered highly prospective for gold-copper and base metal mineral systems.

Geoscience Australia Paterson projects

In recent years there has been two major GA projects undertaken in the Paterson Province.

The first was from 2003 to 2006 which examined the impediments to mineral exploration in the region. This region is somewhat anomalous in having a single world-class copper/gold deposit. However, it is largely undercover and exploration has been difficult in the past. This project aimed to improve the understanding of the regional geological framework in an attempt to reignite exploration interest in the region.

The key objectives of this project, in collaboration with the Geological Survey of Western Australia, were to:

  • Synthesise current understanding of Paterson Province, its mineral systems and develop a plan for future research to address key geological questions;
  • deliver a report on the time-series basin and magmatic framework and mineral systems of Neoproterozoic sequences and events of the Paterson region;
  • deliver reports on the structure, stratigraphy, geochemistry, geochronology and mineral systems of Neoproterozoic sequences and events of the Paterson region;
  • produce a preliminary on-line report on the 3D architecture of selected parts of the Paterson region using 3D Geomodeller™; and
  • present at the 2005 Central Australian Basins Symposium.

The second project followed on under the 2006 to 2011 Onshore Energy Security Program (OESP) as a National Geoscience Agreement (NGA) project. This Paterson project was a cooperative venture with the Geological Survey of Western Australia in which Geoscience Australia provided specialist expertise. The project followed on from geological mapping of the region at 1:100 000 scale by the Geological Survey of Western Australia (Bagas and others, 1991-2003), which also acquired new airborne geophysical and ground gravity data.

This project aimed to develop an understanding of the depositional history of the Neoproterozoic stratigraphy, its subsequent deformation(s) and magmatism, and its mineral systems. It also investigated and integrated sedimentary facies, geophysical properties, structural elements and other post-depositional processes, such as granite emplacement, to understand their relationships to the mineral systems in the region.

Geological maps of the Paterson Province divide the Neoproterozoic sedimentary successions into the Tarcunyah Group of the northwest Officer Basin and the Throssell Range and Lamil Groups of the Yeneena Basin (Bagas, 2004). Each is separated by major regional northeast to southwest trending fault systems and no established correlation of formations between any of the groups currently exists. This study developed an independent sequence stratigraphic interpretation for the formations comprising each of the three groups. Constrained by detrital zircon U-Pb and carbonate Pb-Pb ages, this provided depositional constraints on possible inter-group stratigraphic correlations.

The structures and sediments of the Paleozoic Canning Basin and Cainozoic cover, which are present throughout the region, complicate resolving problems in the understanding of the stratigraphy. In particular, Permian sediments within the Waukarlycarly Embayment separate the regions in which the Lamil and Throssell Range Groups crop out by at least 20 kilometres. Understanding the stratigraphy, structure and geometry of the Neoproterozoic rocks beneath the Waukarlycarly Embayment is a critical aspect of this project and has been achieved by integrating drillcore logs with structural information derived from potential field interpretations and new seismic data.

These issues were addressed through the collection and analysis of geological, geochemical, geochronological and geophysical datasets, with an emphasis on the Neoproterozoic successions necessary to determine the time-series basin and magmatic framework. To assist in constraining this third dimension, a semi-detailed gravity survey was conducted in the Paterson region. These results were used in combination with aeromagnetic data to model the 3D geologic architecture of this area. In addition, satellite hyperspectral techniques, Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER), in conjunction with ground truthing using Portable Infra-Red Mineral Analyser (PIMA), were used to investigate the background signatures of the Neoproterozoic successions as well as identify areas with anomalous signatures.

The key objectives of the Onshore Energy Security Program Paterson Project were to:

  • Construct basin-scale structural and sequence-stratigraphic framework of the Neoproterozoic sedimentary successions in the Paterson region;
  • constrain timing and processes of basin development, felsic and mafic magmatism and tectonism during the Neoproterozoic in and adjacent to the Paterson region;
  • develop a depth to Neoproterozoic contour map of the region; and
  • determine 3D crustal architecture of Paterson region.

These datasets and knowledge have improved the regional geological framework of the Paterson region and have provided significant new insights into the temporal and spatial controls on ore formation which will be of use to the mineral exploration industry in area selection and risk reduction.

Paterson Province Publications and Data Packages

Energy Security Program achievements (2006-2011) see Airborne AEM p50-51 & 62-63.


Regional geophysical surveys

  • Paterson airborne electromagnetic survey - interpretation report. Geological and energy implications of the Paterson Province airborne electromagnetic (AEM) survey, Western Australia (Geoscience Australia Record 2010/12). This report documents data acquisition parameters of the 2007-08 Paterson airborne electromagnetic (AEM) survey along with summaries of the geology and mineral systems of the Paterson Province and interpretations of AEM data.
  • Paterson AEM Survey EM Vision 3D Inversion Data and Release Notes: Kintyre area. Conductivity-depth estimates generated using the 1D Geoscience Australia layered earth inversion algorithm (GA-LEI).
  • Paterson TEMPEST AEM Survey, Western Australia, 2010 Final Inversion Data and Conductivity Models. Data from the Paterson AEM survey was collected along both east-west (Paterson North area) and northeast-southwest (Paterson South area) flight lines spaced mostly between one and six kilometres. It covers the Paterson Province with the exception of the Rudall River (Karlamilyi) National Park.
  • Paterson AEM Survey EM Vision 3D Inversion Data and Release Notes: Kintyre area. A small subset of the regional Paterson airborne electromagnetics (AEM) Survey dataset around the Kintyre deposit inverted using the TechnoImaging LLC (TechnoImaging) EMVision¿ software 3D code. The data subset is a combination of 200m line spaced Tempest¿ AEM data owned by Geoscience Australia and by Cameco Australia. It contains geological features such as Permian palaeovalleys, dipping reductants (Yandagooge Formation) and basement conductors in the Rudall Complex which are known through previous mapping. The data package includes 3D EMVision¿ mesh and model files, GA-LEI sections and GA-LEI grids. Explanatory notes contained within the data package make comparisons between the 3D EMVision¿ data and the GA-LEI 1D inversion data.
  • Other geophysical data is available via Geophysical Acquisition and Databases Project - Geophysical Datasets (airborne magnetics,radiometrics,elevation and gravity) available via GADDS (Geophysical Archive Data Delivery System). In conjunction with Geoscience Australia, the Geological Survey of Western Australia conducted an extensive airborne magnetic and radiometric survey and a smaller ground gravity survey in the Paterson region. More than 200 000 line-kilometres of magnetic and radiometric data were acquired over an area of approximately 70 000 square kilometres in the Paterson-Rudall region. The data was acquired on lines spaced 400 metres apart with a nominal clearance of 60 metres above ground. The gravity survey involved the acquisition and processing of approximately 4000 new gravity stations on a 2.5 by 2.5 kilometre grid.

Specific Paterson geophysical Grids:

GSWA Paterson North percent potassium grid geodetic.

GSWA North Paterson Anketell Merge percent potassium grid geodetic.

GSWA Paterson Central radiometric line data.

GSWA Paterson Central magnetic grid geodetic.

Paterson complete bouguer anomaly grid geodetic.

Other geophysical data may also be available from the Geological Survey of Western Australia state maps and statewide datasets.

Rock Properties


Other Publications

Bagas, L. 2004. The Neoproterozoic Throssell Range and Lamil Groups, Northwest Paterson Orogen, Western Australia - A Field Guide. Geological Survey of Western Australia. Record, 2004/15, 18pp.

Costelloe, M.T., Roach, I.C. and Hutchinson, D.K., 2010. Paterson AEM survey directly detects major unconformity near Kintyre, WA. Preview 145, 40-41.

Costelloe, M., Whitaker, A., Brodie, R., Fisher, A. and Sorensen, C., 2007. Paterson airborne electromagnetic survey, onshore energy and minerals, Geoscience Australia. ASEG Extended Abstracts 2007, 1pp.

English, P.M., Gow, L., Hanna, A., Kilgour, P., Lewis, S.J. and Brodie, R.S., 2009. Groundwater investigations in palaeovalleys in the Paterson-Canning and Murchison regions of Western Australia. In: Grice, K. and Trinajstic, K. (editors), The 10th Australasian Environmental Isotope Conference and 3rd Australasian Hydrogeology Research Conference, Perth, Western Australia.

Hutchinson, D.K., Roach, I.C. and Costelloe, M.T., 2010. AEM Go-Map for the Paterson Region, WA and Pine Creek, NT. ASEG Extended Abstracts 2010, 1pp.

Jaireth, S., Liu, S.F., and Roach, I.C., 2010. Potential for calcrete hosted uranium deposits in the Paterson region, Western Australia. Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy Uranium Conference Abstracts, 39-40.

Liu, S.F., Jaireth, S., Roach, I.C., Whitaker, A.J. and Costelloe, M.T., 2010. Uranium mineral systems in the Paterson region, WA: constraints from regional AEM survey data. In: 2010 Australian Earth Sciences Convention, Geological Society of Australia Abstracts 98, 386-387.

Liu, S.F., Jaireth, S., Whitaker, A.J. and Roach, I.C., 2010. Regional AEM data for assessing uranium mineral systems potential in the Paterson region, WA. Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy Uranium Conference Abstracts, 37-38.

Roach, I.C., Whitaker, A.J., Costelloe, M.T., Hutchinson, D.K., Liu, S.F. and Craig, M., 2010. The Paterson AEM Survey, Western Australia: Enhancing prospectivity using regional AEM data to image Paleozoic-Mesozoic paleotopography. In: 2010 Australian Earth Sciences Convention, Geological Society of Australia Abstracts 98, 229-230.

Roach, I.C., Whitaker, A.J., Costelloe, M.T., Hutchinson, D.K., Liu, S.F., Craig, M.A. and Williams, N., 2010. Reducing uranium exploration risk in the Paterson Province, WA: mapping paleotopography using regional AEM. In: Roach, I.C. (editor), First Australian Regolith Geoscientists Association Conference Abstracts, 16.

Sorensen, C., Fisher, A. and Costelloe, M., 2009. Airborne electromagnetic survey results from the Paterson Province, WA. ASEG Extended Abstracts 2009, 4pp.