2. Mineral Exploration

Overview

The mineral resources upon which the global mining industry depends have been, and will continue to be, discovered by searching new areas, not only at the Earth's surface but also, increasingly, at depth. The Australian exploration industry is one of the most sophisticated and successful in the world, although Australia faces growing challenges in maintaining investment share and discovery rates against global competition. As shown on the following pages, expenditure on mineral exploration in Australia has increased greatly over the years to 2012 (Figures 2.1 and 2.2), resulting in new discoveries and major increases to the nation's resource base.

The mineral exploration process can be divided into several stages, commencing generally with data compilation and assessment to identify new areas with discovery potential. These may be near known mineral deposits or mines, commonly referred to as 'brownfields', or may be remote from known deposits (greenfields) in areas that are deemed to have geological characteristics favourable for mineralisation. Although some parts of Australia have been intensively explored and many mineral discoveries have been made, there remain vast areas of the Australian continent that have not yet been explored for minerals, as outlined below. In Australia, information used by the mineral industry at this early exploration stage is a combination of corporate and publicly-available data, some of which is provided by Australian federal, state and territory governments (see "Pre-competitive geoscience information" on page 11).

The next stage of mineral exploration generally involves the acquisition of new data by exploration companies on their tenements, including geological, geophysical and geochemical data, and the identification of anomalous zones and new prospects. Discoveries of new mineral deposits are made through drill-testing targets and, although success rates are relatively low, it is at this stage when considerable value can be added. Many of the results presented later in this section (Tables 2.5 to 2.12) represent this early to middle stage of exploration.

The following stage, termed 'advanced exploration', involves definition of a mineral resource (e.g., under Australia's JORC Code, see Appendix 1) and requires considerable investment, particularly in drilling. Whether or not it is economic to mine a mineral resource depends on many factors including technical, financial and regulatory constraints. The viability of an advanced exploration project with a defined resource will normally be determined during prefeasibility and feasibility studies, which will form the basis of the decision on whether to proceed to the development and mining stages.

Risk and reward vary through these stages of mineral exploration, from high risk and high reward during the early-exploration stage to lower risk and correspondingly lower value-adding (relative to investment) during the later stages of the process. Risk in exploration investment is also considered to be higher in greenfields than in brownfields regions, although the opportunities for discovery of very large mineral deposits in previously unknown greenfields mineral provinces is a strong driver for some companies. Nevertheless, the trend in drilling statistics showing an increasing proportion of drilled metres in brownfields over greenfields in recent years (Figures 2.3 and 2.4) may indicate increasing aversion to risk despite the potential rewards of a major greenfields discovery.

Mineral Exploration Expenditure

The Australian Bureau of Statistics states that mineral exploration expenditure (non-petroleum) in the 2012 calendar year was $3655.8 million, an increase of 2% relative to 2011 figure of $3573.3 million (Figure 2.1). However, mineral exploration for the financial year 2012–13, totalling $3055.3 million (Figure 2.2), decreased by 23% relative to the 2011–12 financial year ($3953.0 million).

Figure 2.1 is a line graph showing the total annual exploration expenditure for Australia for each calendar year from 2005 to 2012. There is one line on the graph. The vertical axis is labelled 'exploration expenditure, millions of dollars' beginning at 0 and in increments of 500 million. The horizontal axis is labelled with the year starting with 2005 and ending with 2012. In the graph, the line begins at $1136.1 million in 2005 and steadily increases to $2608.3 million by 2008. In 2009, there was a decrease in exploration expenditure to $2023.2 million then the line rises again as exploration expenditure increased each year since to reach $3655.8 million in 2012.

Figure 2.1 Australian mineral exploration expenditure per calendar year, 2005 to 2012.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Figure 2.2 is a line graph showing exploration expenditure for each Australian financial year (1 July to 30 June) from 2005-06 to 2012-13. There is one line on the graph. The vertical axis is labelled 'exploration expenditure, millions of dollars' beginning at 0 and in increments of 500 million. The horizontal axis is labelled with the year starting with 2005-06 and ending with 2012-13. In the graph, the line begins at $1240.9 million in 2005-06 and steadily increases to $2461.5 million by 2007-08. In 2008-09, there was a slight decrease in exploration expenditure to $2223.3 million then the line rises again as exploration expenditure increased each year to a peak of $3953.0 million in 2011-12. In 2012-13, the line drops sharply reflecting the decrease in exploration expenditure to $3055.3 million

Figure 2.2 Australian mineral exploration expenditure per financial year (1 July to 30 June), 2005–06 to 2012–13.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics.

A similar pattern played out when comparing mineral exploration expenditure directed both in and around known deposits (brownfields) and at undiscovered mineralisation in frontier regions (greenfields) (Table 2.1 and Figure 2.3). For the 2012 calendar year, brownfields exploration expenditure increased by 2.2% to $2483.2 million and greenfields increased by 2.5% to $1172.7 million. However, drilling decreased in brownfield regions by 6% to 6.914 million metres and in greenfields by 10% to 3.274 million metres. Total metres drilled for the 2012 calendar year decreased by 7% to 10.188 million metres (Table 2.1 and Figure 2.3).

The 2012–13 financial year saw a decrease in both mineral exploration expenditure and in the number of metres drilled (Figure 2.4). Compared to 2011–12, brownfields exploration decreased by 25% to $2037.1 million and greenfields expenditure decreased by 18% to $1018.4 million. Brownfields drilling decreased by 26% to 5.691 million metres and greenfields drilling decreased by 26% to 2.729 million metres. Total metres drilled decreased by 26% to 8.420 million metres.

Table 2.1 Total, greenfields and brownfields drilling expenditure and metres for calendar years 2005 to 2012.
Year 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics; Brownfields and greenfields figures may vary from the totals because of rounding.
Brownfields ($million) 713.9 931.1 1266.1 1570.9 1261.2 1537.2 2429.5 2483.2
Greenfields ($million) 422.3 532.9 794.9 1037.3 761.7 953 1143.8 1172.7
Total expenditure ($million) 1136.1 1463.9 2061.1 2608.3 2023.2 2469.1 3573.3 3655.8
Brownfields ('000 metres) 4069 4720 5554 5938 4946 5391 7325 6914
Greenfields ('000 metres) 2600 3013 3553 3755 2436 3318 3642 3274
Total drilling ('000 metres) 6669 7733 9107 9693 7382 8709 10967 10188

Figure 2.3 is a line graph showing both exploration expenditure and the amount of drilling at Australian brownfields and greenfields deposits each calendar year from 2005 to 2012. There are four lines on the graph. The left vertical axis is labelled 'exploration drilling in thousands of metres' beginning with 0 and in increments of 1000. The right vertical axis is labelled 'exploration expenditure, millions of dollars' beginning at 0 and in increments of 500 million. The horizontal axis is labelled with the year starting with 2005 and ending with 2012. The first line in solid brown and depicts the amount of drilling at brownfields deposits. In the graph, the line begins at 4069 metres in 2005 and steadily increases to 5938 metres by 2008. In 2009, there was a slight decrease in the amount of drilling to 4946 metres then the line rises again as drilling increased each year to a peak of 7325 metres in 2011. In 2012, the line drops slightly reflecting the decrease in drilling to 6914 metres. The second line is solid green and depicts the amount of drilling at greenfields deposits. In the graph, the line begins at 2600 metres in 2005 and steadily increases to a peak of 3755 metres by 2008. In 2009, there was a decrease in the amount of drilling to 2436 metres then the line rises again as drilling increased each year to 3642 metres in 2011. In 2012, the line drops slightly reflecting the decrease in drilling to 3274 metres. The third line is dashed brown and depicts the amount of exploration expenditure at brownfields deposits. In the graph, the line begins at $713.9 million in 2005 and steadily increases to $1570.9 million by 2008. In 2009, there was a decrease in exploration expenditure to $1261.2 million then the line rises again as exploration expenditure increased each year to a peak of $2483.2 million in 2012. The fourth line is dashed green and depicts the amount of exploration expenditure at greenfields deposits. In the graph, the line begins at $422.3 million in 2005 and steadily increases to $1037.3 million by 2008. In 2009, there was a decrease in exploration expenditure to $761.7 million then the line rises again as exploration expenditure increased each year to a peak of $1172.7 million in 2012. Overall, the graph shows that the bulk of exploration drilling and expenditure occurs in brownfields regions and in recent times, this preference has become stronger. Whilst, brownfields activity has recovered to pre-Global Financial Crisis levels and then some, greenfields exploration activity has not. In addition, the graph shows that in recent years increased exploration expenditure does not necessarily correlate with increased drilling. The data are summarised in Table 2.1.

Figure 2.3 Greenfields and brownfields drilling expenditure and metres for the calendar year, 2005 to 2012.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Table 2.2 Total, greenfields and brownfields drilling expenditure and metres for financial years 2005–06 to 2012–13.
Year 2005–06 2006–07 2007–08 2008–09 2009–10 2010–11 2011–12 2012–13
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics; Brownfields and greenfields figures may vary from the totals because of rounding.
Brownfields ($million) 783.4 1104.6 1448.6 1383.9 1379.0 1913.8 2710.0 2037.1
Greenfields ($million) 457.5 609.9 1012.7 839.2 853.4 1037.5 1243.0 1018.4
Total expenditure ($million) 1240.9 1714.5 2461.3 2223.1 2232.4 2951.3 3953.0 3055.5
Brownfields ('000 metres) 4219 5215 5835 5167 5245 6263 7708 5691
Greenfields ('000 metres) 2618 3239 3920 2720 3055 3436 3700 2729
Total drilling ('000 metres) 6837 8454 9755 7887 8300 9699 11408 8420

Figure 2.4 is a line graph showing both exploration expenditure and the amount of drilling at Australian brownfields and greenfields deposits each financial year (1 July to 30 June) from 2005-06 to 2012-13. There are four lines on the graph. The left vertical axis is labelled 'exploration drilling in thousands of metres' beginning with 0 and in increments of 1000. The right vertical axis is labelled 'exploration expenditure, millions of dollars' beginning at 0 and in increments of 500 million. The horizontal axis is labelled with the year starting with 2005 and ending with 2012. The first line in solid brown and depicts the amount of drilling at brownfields deposits. In the graph, the line begins at 4219 metres in 2005-06 and steadily increases to 5835 metres by 2007-08. In 2008-09, there was a slight decrease in the amount of drilling to 5167 metres then the line rises again as drilling increased each year to a peak of 7708 metres in 2011-12. In 2012-13, the line drops again reflecting the decrease in drilling to 5691 metres. The second line is solid green and depicts the amount of drilling at greenfields deposits. In the graph, the line begins at 2618 metres in 2005-06 and steadily increases to a peak of 3920 metres by 2007-08. In 2008-09, there was a decrease in the amount of drilling to 2720 metres then the line rises again as drilling increased each year to 3700 metres in 2011-12. In 2012-13, the line drops again reflecting the decrease in drilling to 2729 metres. The third line is dashed brown and depicts the amount of exploration expenditure at brownfields deposits. In the graph, the line begins at $783.4 million in 2005-06 and steadily increases to $1448.6 million by 2007-08. In 2008-09, there was a decrease in exploration expenditure to $1383.9 million then the line rises again as exploration expenditure increased each year to a peak of $2710.0 million in 2011-12. In 2012-13, the line drops sharply reflecting a decrease in expenditure to $2037.1 million. The fourth line is dashed green and depicts the amount of exploration expenditure at greenfields deposits. In the graph, the line begins at $2618 million in 2005-06 and steadily increases to a peak of $3920 million by 2007-08. In 2008-09, there was a decrease in exploration expenditure to $2720 million then the line rises again as exploration expenditure gradually increased each year to $3700 million in 2011-12. In 2012-13, the line again drops sharply reflecting a decrease in expenditure to $2729 million. Overall, the graph shows that the bulk of exploration drilling and expenditure occurs in brownfields regions and in recent times, this preference has become stronger. Whilst, brownfields activity has recovered to pre-Global Financial Crisis levels and then some, greenfields exploration activity has not. The data are summarised in Table 2.2.

Figure 2.4 Greenfields and brownfields drilling expenditure and metres per financial year (1 July to 30 June), 2005–06 to 2012–13.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics.

On a state by state basis, the 2012 calendar year recorded increases in exploration in Western Australia (up 13% on 2011 to $2052.6 million) and Tasmania (up 5% on 2011 to $40.7 million). All other jurisdictions had decreased exploration expenditure compared to the previous year. Minor falls in exploration expenditure were recorded in South Australia (down 0.4% to $311.6 million), New South Wales (down 1% to $209.8 million) and Queensland (down 5% to $844.4 million). Significant falls were recorded in Victoria (down 32% to $44.1 million) and the Northern Territory (down 33% to $152.6 million) (Figure 2.5).

The recent decline in mineral exploration expenditure is more apparent in the 2012–13 financial year: Compared to the 2011–12 financial year, Western Australia decreased by 16% to $1763.4 million, New South Wales decreased by 23% to $187.3 million, South Australia decreased by 30% to $230.4 million, Queensland decreased by 31% to $663.6 million, Victoria decreased by 34% to $38.5 million and the Northern Territory decreased by 37% to $131.7 million. Tasmania was the sole exception with an increase in exploration expenditure of 2.8% to $40.4 million (Figure 2.6) compared to the previous financial year.

Figure 2.5 is a bar chart showing exploration expenditure in Australian states and the Northern Territory for each calendar year from 2005 to 2012. There are seven bars per year coloured blue (New South Wales), purple (Victoria), pink (Queensland), yellow (South Australia), orange (Western Australia), green (Tasmania) and grey (the Northern Territory). The vertical axis is labelled 'exploration expenditure, millions of dollars” beginning at 0 and in increments of 500 million. The horizontal axis is labelled with the year starting with 2005 and ending with 2012. Overall, exploration activity in Western Australia dominates the other states followed by Queensland. Exploration expenditure in each jurisdiction, with the exception of the Northern Territory, sharply dropped following the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2008; Tasmania and South Australia approximately halved. All states except Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales recovered by 2010 to pre-GFC expenditure levels. New South Wales and South Australia did not recover to pre-GFC levels until 2011 and Victoria still has not and, in fact, continues to decline. Western Australia and Tasmania reached peak exploration expenditure in 2012, but Queensland, South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and the Northern Territory all showed declines in exploration activity, with that of the Northern Territory and Victoria being the sharpest.

Figure 2.5 Exploration expenditure in Australian states and the Northern Territory for calendar years 2005 to 2012.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Figure 2.6 is a bar chart showing exploration expenditure in Australian states and the Northern Territory for each financial year (1 July to 30 June) from 2005-06 to 2012-13. There are seven bars per year coloured blue (New South Wales), purple (Victoria), pink (Queensland), yellow (South Australia), orange (Western Australia), green (Tasmania) and grey (the Northern Territory). The vertical axis is labelled 'exploration expenditure, millions of dollars' beginning at 0 and in increments of 500 million. The horizontal axis is labelled with the year starting with 2005-06 and ending with 2012-13. Overall, exploration activity in Western Australia dominates the other states followed by Queensland. Exploration expenditure in each jurisdiction, with the exception of the Northern Territory, decreased following the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) with lows in expenditure recorded in either 2008-09 or 2009-10. Queensland recovered first to pre-GFC expenditure levels by 2009-10, Western Australia and Tasmania by 2010-11 and New South Wales by 2011-12. Victoria and South Australia's exploration expenditure is still below that of their pre-GFC peaks of 2007-08. Exploration expenditure in the Northern Territory's continued to rise through the GFC to peak at $210.4 million in 2011-12. All jurisdictions have declined significantly in 2012-13.

Figure 2.6 Exploration expenditure in Australian states and the Northern Territory per financial year (1 July to 30 June), 2005–06 to 2012–13.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Trends in exploration expenditure by commodity varied over the 2012 calendar year (Table 2.3 and Figure 2.7). Compared to the previous year, exploration spending in 2012 increased for iron ore (up 29% to $1163.0 million), copper (up 5% to $413.7 million), gold (up 5% to $740.9 million) and silver-lead-zinc (up 0.7% to $83.3 million). Decreases in expenditure were recorded for uranium (down 48% to $98.3 million), coal (down 6% to $709.0 million), nickel-cobalt (down 10% to $235.7 million) and spending associated with minor commodities, such as manganese, molybdenum, phosphate, tin, tungsten and vanadium (down 27% to $164.4 million).

Table 2.3 Exploration expenditure ($million) by commodity for calendar years 2005 to 2012.
Year 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Coal 145.6 198.7 192.6 276.3 312.7 361.8 757.4 709.0
Copper 105.8 177.5 263.7 293 134.8 261.4 395.9 413.7
Diamond 22.8 27.8 18.4 17.3 7.8 - 2.8 4.1
Gold 384.1 429.8 502.9 569.9 463.3 624.1 708.8 740.9
Iron ore 152.2 224.7 354.1 583 521.2 553.3 905.3 1163.0
Mineral sands 30.1 31.3 36.5 37.5 28.4 - 17.2 31.2
Nickel, cobalt 168.1 147.9 251.2 324 186.3 235.7 262.1 235.7
Silver, lead, zinc 46.5 100.7 187.4 133.1 48.2 66.6 82.7 83.3
Uranium 37.7 80.7 181.4 220.5 179.6 190 189.6 98.3
Other 43.2 45.3 72.5 153.4 140.7 162.6 223.6 164.4

Figure 2.7 is a line chart showing exploration expenditure by commodity for each calendar year from 2005 to 2012. There are eight lines on the chart coloured red (iron ore), gold (gold), black (coal), blue (nickel and cobalt), green (copper), yellow (uranium), purple (silver-lead-zinc) and turquoise (others, base metals, mineral sands and diamonds). The vertical axis is labelled 'exploration expenditure, millions of dollars' beginning at 0 and in increments of 200 million. The horizontal axis is labelled with the year starting with 2005 and ending with 2012. Iron ore, gold and coal exploration account for the bulk of the exploration expenditure, with iron ore and coal expenditure increasing the most dramatically since 2005. Expenditure on all commodities decreased in 2009 following the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) except for coal which has risen every year since 2005 until 2012 when it decreased slightly. Exploration expenditure on gold, copper and iron ore recovered in 2010 and has risen every year since then. Exploration expenditure on nickel, cobalt, uranium, silver-lead-zinc, diamonds, mineral sands and other commodities has not yet recovered to pre-GFC levels. The data are summarised in Table 2.3.

Figure 2.7 Exploration expenditure by commodity for calendar years 2005 to 2012.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Conversely, exploration spending in the 2012–2013 financial year decreased for all commodities compared to the preceding period (Table 2.4 and Figure 2.8). Exploration expenditure on iron ore declined by 12% to $1011.3 million, gold decreased by 14% to $661.8 million, base metals, copper, cobalt and nickel declined by 29% to $563.7 million, coal was down 35% to $544.0 million, uranium declined 55% to $69.5 million and spending associated with minor commodities, such as manganese, molybdenum, phosphate, tin, tungsten and vanadium, was down 19% to $161.2 million.

Table 2.4 Exploration expenditure ($million) by commodity for financial years 2005–06 to 2012–13
Year 2005–06 2006–07 2007–08 2008–09 2009–10 2010–11 2011–12 2012–13
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Coal 166.4 193.3 234.8 297.3 321.1 519.7 834.3 544.0
Copper, lead, zinc, silver, nickel, cobalt 356.6 555.0 783.4 519.0 457.2 669.4 795.5 563.7
Diamond 22.6 26.9 21.7 10.1 3.7 3.6 3.3 6.3
Gold 399.7 455.8 592.7 438.1 575.4 652.1 768 661.8
Iron ore 161.2 285.3 449.8 588.7 524.1 664.9 1150.7 1011.3
Mineral sands 29.2 37.4 37.1 30.5 16.0 6.2 20.3 37.8
Uranium 56.1 114.1 231.6 185.6 169.0 213.9 153.7 69.5
Other 49.0 46.8 110.4 154.1 147.1 196.3 199.3 161.2

Figure 2.8 is a line chart showing exploration expenditure by commodity for each financial year (1 July to 30 June) from 2005-06 to 2012-13. There are eight lines on the chart coloured red (iron ore), gold (gold), black (coal), green (copper, silver-lead-zinc, nickel and cobalt), yellow (uranium), purple (other), turquoise (diamonds) and brown (mineral sands). The vertical axis is labelled 'exploration expenditure, millions of dollars' beginning at 0 and in increments of 200 million. The horizontal axis is labelled with the year starting with 2005-06 and ending with 2012-13. Iron ore, gold and coal exploration account for the bulk of the exploration expenditure, with iron ore and coal expenditure increasing the most dramatically since 2005-06. Expenditure on gold, copper, lead-zinc-silver, nickel and cobalt, uranium, mineral sands and diamonds decreased significantly in 2008-09 following the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Gold exploration expenditure recovered to pre-GFC levels the following year, the base metals, copper and nickel in 2011-12 and mineral sands in 2012-13. Iron ore exploration decreased in 2009-10 but recovered the following year. Only coal exploration expenditure increased during the GFC. All commodities except diamonds and mineral sands have seen a slump in exploration expenditure during 2012-13, with the decreases in coal, gold, iron ore, nickel and cobalt, base metals, copper and uranium the most dramatic. Exploration expenditure for mineral sands and diamonds has almost doubled in 2012-13. The data are summarised in Table 2.4.

Figure 2.8 Exploration expenditure by commodity per financial year (1 July to 30 June), 2005–06 to 2012–13.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Australia is an under-explored continent

Discoveries continue to be made in both brownfield and greenfield provinces. Since 1990, more than twelve new world-class mineral deposits have been discovered. Significant discoveries are being made in established mining districts, even in regions where there has been production for over one hundred years. The past decade has seen the discovery of, or substantial addition to, resources at significant deposits across the country. However, despite a long history of discovery, the Australian continent remains effectively under-explored, particularly at depths of greater than one hundred metres.

Pre-competitive geoscience information

The Australian, state and Northern Territory governments undertake various geoscience programs to support mineral and petroleum exploration in Australia. These programs provide pre-competitive geoscience information and datasets, particularly covering important areas, as a basis for exploration in both proven and greenfields mineral provinces. Datasets include high-resolution geophysical data, including regional gravity, deep-seismic surveys and airborne magnetic data and radiometric data.

The geophysical data are supported by geological maps, databases of geochemical data and mineral occurrence/deposit information, GIS datasets, reports and interpretative products and are made available to potential explorers either via the internet or as other products in digital formats. The Australian Government, the Northern Territory Government and several state governments are undertaking geoscientific programs to acquire a range of geological and geophysical data to support exploration.

Selected Exploration Results 2012

Exploration results from 2012 for bauxite (Table 2.5), coal (Table 2.6), copper (Table 2.7), gold (Table 2.8), iron ore (Table 2.9), nickel (Table 2.10), rare earths (Table 2.11) and uranium (Table 2.12) have been selected by Geoscience Australia from publicly available information sources. This selection is based on their likely future significance for the Australian exploration and mining industries. More details can be found in the Geoscience Australia publication 'Australian Mineral Exploration Review 2012'1, and on company websites and from the Australian Securities Exchange.

Table 2.5 A selection of Australian bauxite exploration results in 2012.
Project State Company Significant Results
Al2O3 = alumina; m = metres; Qld = Queensland; WA = Western Australia.
Source: Geoscience Australia.
Binjour Qld Australian Bauxite Ltd 4 m @ 36.66% Al2O3. 8 m @ 48.78% Al2O3.
Felicitas WA Bauxite Resources Ltd Grades of 25% Al2O3 or greater over thicknesses of 2-16 m.
Table 2.6 A selection of Australian coal exploration results in 2012.
Project State Company Significant Results
Mt = million tonnes; m = metres; km = kilometres; NSW = New South Wales; Qld = Queensland; SA = South Australia; WA = Western Australia.
Source: Geoscience Australia.
Ferndale NSW Whitehaven Coal Ltd Updated Indicated Resource of 7.8 Mt and Inferred Resource of 361 Mt bituminous coal.
Tahmoor South NSW Glencore Xstrata plc Updated Probable Reserve of 29 Mt coking coal, Indicated Resource of 150 Mt and Inferred Resource of 170 Mt.
Milray Qld Glencore Xstrata plc Maiden Inferred Resource of 610 Mt.
Bushranger Qld Cockatoo Coal Ltd Maiden Indicated Resource of 18.8 Mt and Inferred Resource of 126 Mt black coal.
Bymount Qld Blackwood Corporation Ltd Exploration target identified from historical data, coal intersected.
Injune Qld Aquila Resources Ltd Maiden Measured and Indicated Resource of 155.5 Mt and Inferred Resource of 671.4 Mt thermal coal. Further contiguous coal deposits identified.
Taroom Qld Blackwood Corporation Ltd Exploration target identified from historical data, coal intersected.
South Pentland Qld Blackwood Corporation Ltd Exploration target identified from historical data and geophysics, coal intersected.
Pentland Qld Glencore Xstrata plc Maiden Measured Resource of 65 Mt, Indicated Resource of 15 Mt and Inferred Resource of 20 Mt.
Pearl Creek/Dingo Qld Whitehaven Coal Ltd Maiden Indicated Resource of 6.6 Mt and Inferred Resource of 34.0 Mt black coal.
Hughenden Qld Guildford Coal Ltd Maiden Indicated Resource of 123.63 Mt and Inferred Resource of 1619 Mt thermal coal.
Clyde Park Qld White Mountain Pty Ltd Updated Inferred Resource of 623 Mt thermal coal.
Blackall Qld Coalbank Ltd Maiden Inferred Resource of 1249 Mt sub-bituminous coal.
South Blackall Qld International Coal Ltd Updated Inferred Resource of 1246 Mt thermal coal. Coal seams of over 5.5 m thick.
Yellow Jacket Qld Cuesta Coal Ltd Exploration target identified, coal intersected.
Talisker North WA Attila Resources Ltd New discovery of sub-bituminous coal seams ranging between 3.4 and 4.3 m thick.
Thorn Hill Qld Cuesta Coal Ltd Upgraded Indicated Resource of 22.1 Mt and Inferred Resource of 22.5 Mt thermal coal.
Moorlands Qld Cuesta Coal Ltd Upgraded Measured Resource of 14.6 Mt, Indicated Resource of 9.7 Mt and Inferred Resource of 29.1 Mt thermal coal.
Amberley Qld Cuesta Coal Ltd Upgraded Inferred Resource of 54.7 Mt thermal coal.
Orion Downs Qld U&D Mining Industry Australia Pty Ltd Upgraded Measured Resource of 31.8 Mt, Indicated Resource of 11.6 Mt and Inferred Resource of 8.0 Mt black coal.
Rockwood Qld U&D Mining Industry Australia Pty Ltd Upgraded Indicated Resource of 44.5 Mt and Inferred Resource of 292.8 Mt black coal.
Lake Phillipson SA White Energy Company Ltd Updated resource of 1130 Mt black coal.
Myroodah WA Rey Resources 2 km occurrence of shallow, continuous coal subcrop north of Duchess Paradise deposit.
Table 2.7 A selection of Australian copper exploration results in 2012.
Project State Company Significant Results
Ag = silver; Au = gold; Bi = bismuth; Co = cobalt; Cu = copper; Fe = iron; La = lanthanum; W = tungsten; g/t = grams per tonne; ppm = parts per million; ppb = parts per billion; Mt = million tonnes; m = metres; NSW = New South Wales; NT = Northern Territory; Qld = Queensland; SA = South Australia; Tas = Tasmania; WA = Western Australia.
Source: Geoscience Australia.
Wirrilah NSW Arks Mines Ltd 27 m @ 0.2% Cu.
Mallee Bull NSW Peel Mining Ltd 69 m @ 3.48% Cu, 34 g/t Ag and 0.14 g/t Au (including a high grade zone of 18 m @ 9.35% Cu, 83 g/t Ag and 0.43 g/t Au).
Meritilga NSW Clancy Exploration Ltd 4 m @ 20 g/t Au, 0.26% Cu and 30.2 g/t Ag (including 1 m @ 62 g/t Au and 60 g/t Ag). 31 m @ 0.4 g/t Au, 0.18% Cu and 16 g/t Ag (including 11 m @ 0.8 g/t Au, 0.5% Cu and 19.5 g/t Ag).
Mayfield (a) NSW Capital Mining Ltd 20 m @ 6.86 g/t Au, 2.1 g/t Ag, 0.27% Cu and 46.3% Fe. 36 m @ 1.81 g/t Au, 4.3 g/t Ag, 0.1% Cu and 29% Fe. 4.0 Mt @ 0.4% Cu, 0.7 g/t Au, 8.8 g/t Ag, 0.2% Zn and 25.4% Fe. 0.9 Mt @ 2.36% Zn, 5.9 g/t Ag and 0.1% Cu.
Golden King NSW Silver City Minerals Ltd 22 m @ 0.61% Cu. 12 m @ 0.41% Cu. 12 m @ 1.34% Cu.
Rover 12 NT Adelaide Resources Ltd 4 m @ 1.22% Cu and 5.57 g/t Au. 17 m @ 0.76% Cu and 0.02 g/t Au.
Goanna NT Emmerson Resources Ltd 24 m @ 1.95% Cu (including 9 m at 3.18% Cu and 984 ppm Bi). 24 m @ 2.18% Cu and 29.3% Fe (including 4.7 m at 3.37% Cu and 0.13 g/t Au).
Andy's Hills Qld Syndicated Metals Ltd 1.3% Cu, 0.5 g/t Au and up to 0.21% La.
Starra 276 Qld Ivanhoe Australia Ltd 20 m @ 2.56% Cu and 0.75 g/t Au (including 1.6 m @ 9.45% Cu and 1.62 g/t Au). 18 m @ 2.01% Cu and 0.91 g/t Au (including 2 m @ 4.5% Cu and 3.51 g/t Au).
Sefton Qld Coppermoly Ltd Identification of induced polarisation anomaly thought to relate to iron, and possibly copper or molybdenum mineralisation.
White Horse Qld ActivEX Ltd and Coppermoly Ltd 26 m @ 0.85% Cu. 28 m @ 0.96% Cu. 92 m @ 0.36% Cu (including 15 m @ 1.09% Cu).
Willamulka SA Adelaide Resources Ltd 11 m @ 0.98% Cu and 0.93 g/t Au. 10 m @ 0.7% Cu. 14 m @ 1.04% Cu and 0.32 g/t Au.
Carrapateena SA OZ Minerals Ltd 1131 m @ 1.52% Cu and 0.63 g/t Au (including 111 m @ 2.96% Cu and 0.4 g/t Au). 1492 m @ 0.9% Cu and 0.38 g/t Au.
Mt Jukes Tas Jaguar Minerals Ltd and Corona Gold Ltd 122 m @ 0.4% Cu.
BM7 WA Encounter Resources Ltd 227 m @ 0.22% Cu and 338 ppm Co. 102 m @ 0.19% Cu and 243 ppm Co. 7 m @ 0.25% Cu and 250 ppm Co.
Imperial WA Integra Mining Ltd 19 m @ 4.39 g/t Au (including 6.2 m @ 13.43 g/t Au and 1.5% Cu).
Rinaldi WA Horseshoe Metal Ltd 13 m @ 2.7% Cu (including 2 m @ 14.4% Cu). 28 m @ 1.8% Cu (including 3 m @ 7.5% Cu).
Marymia WA Riedel Resources Ltd 247 ppb Au, 117 ppm Cu, 3.71 ppm Ag. 45.9% Fe, 61.9 ppm W.
Table 2.8 A selection of Australian gold exploration results in 2012.
Project State Company Significant Results
Ag = silver; Au = gold; Pb = lead; g/t = grams per tonne; ppb=parts per billion; oz = ounce; Moz = million ounces; m = metres; NSW = New South Wales; NT = Northern Territory; Qld = Queensland; SA = South Australia; WA = Western Australia.
Source: Geoscience Australia.
Ruby Lode NSW Cortona Resources Ltd 2 m @ 12.3 g/t Au. 5 m @ 6.77 g/t Au.
Sorpresa NSW Rimfire Resources Ltd 14 m @ 24.4 g/t Au (including 2 m @ 118 g/t Au).
Mt Carrington NSW White Rock Minerals Ltd Updated Indicated Resource of 153 000 oz Au and Inferred Resource of 131 000 oz Au. Updated Indicated Resource of 4.3 Moz Ag and Inferred Resource of 19 Moz Ag.
Frasers Find NSW Sovereign Gold Company Ltd 18 g/t to77 g/t Au. 214 g/t to 1110 g/t Ag. 0.9% to 5.46% Pb.
Old Pirate NT ABM Resources NL New mineralised zone of 24 m strike length @ 83.9 g/t Au. Total mineralised zone of 582 m strike length @ 23.98 g/t Au.
Hyperion NT ABM Resources NL 26 m @ 2.95 g/t Au (including 17 m @ 4.36 g/t Au). 35 m @ 1.27 g/t Au (including 1 m @ 8.44 g/t Au).
Groundrush NT Tanami Gold NL 17 m @ 109 g/t Au (including 0.6 m @ 3000 g/t Au). 25 m @ 3.2 g/t Au. 18 m @ 3.3 g/t Au. 1.8 m @ 53.9 g/t Au.
Ripcord NT Tanami Gold NL 52 m @ 2.1 g/t Au. 11 m @ 4.0 g/t Au. 12 m @ 2.2 g/t Au.
Homeward Bound QLD Centius Gold Ltd 200 m-long target zone returning values >1.0 g/t Au and many >14 g/t Au from 72 samples.
Triumph QLD Roar Resources Ltd 6 m @ 3.85 g/t Au and 10 g/t Ag (including 1 m @ 21.5 g/t Au and 44.6 g/t Ag). 1 m @ 5.98 g/t Au and 16.1 g/t Ag.
Tarcoola SA Mungana Goldmines Ltd 20.4 m @ 21.49 g/t Au. 20.4 m @ 8.36 g/t Au.
Bartel SA Archer Exploration Ltd Identification of a new gold system, sample grades up to 2 g/t Au.
Cutana SA Renaissance Uranium Ltd Soil geochemistry results of up to 53 ppb Au.
Corona WA Alacer Gold Corporation 2.35 m @ 658 g/t Au. 1.9 m @ 225.2 g/t Au.
Paddock Well WA Bulletin Resources Ltd Rock-chip sample results included 10.5 g/t Au, 24.1 g/t Au and 11.3 g/t Au.
Earlobe WA Sirius Resources NL 20 m @ 3.18 g/t Au (including 2 m @ 26.6 g/t Au). 19 m @ 1.56 g/t Au (including 4 m @ 6.09 g/t Au).
Mt Monger Reefs WA Integra Mining Ltd 5 m @ 2.84 g/t Au. 4 m @ 2.12 g/t Au.
Kalgoorlie East WA MRG Metals Ltd 25 soil sample results >100 ppb Au, up to 547 ppb Au.
Gwendolyn East WA Vector Resources Ltd 5 m @ 253.33 g/t Au (including 1 m @ 1165 g/t Au). 1 m @ 56 g/t Au. 1 m @ 17.99 g/t Au. 2 m @ 16.6 g/t Au. 12 m @ 8.38 g/t Au.
Bullant WA Kalgoorlie Mining Company Ltd 1.66 m @ 20.98 g/t Au. 3.21 m @ 5.65 g/t Au.
Four Eagles VIC Catalyst Metals Ltd 3 m @ 0.41 g/t Au. 3 m @ 1.1 g/t Au. 3 m @ 5.18 g/t Au.
Tandarra VIC Navarre Minerals Ltd 4 m @ 9.4 g/t Au (including 1 m @ 33.6 g/t Au).
Glen Wills VIC Synergy Metals Ltd 0.70 m @ 6.14 g/t Au and 1.47 g/t Ag (including 0.39 m @ 10.85 g/t Au and 2.50 g/t Ag). 2.60 m @ 3 g/t Au and 1.93 g/t Ag (including 0.95 m @ 5.67 g/t Au and 2.50 g/t Ag).
Table 2.9 A selection of Australian iron ore exploration results in 2012.
Project State Company Significant Results
Al2O3 = alumina; Fe = iron; Si = silica; m = metres; NT = Northern Territory; SA = South Australia; WA = Western Australia.
Source: Geoscience Australia.
Roper Bar NT Western Desert Resources Ltd 5 m @ 47.7% Fe, 22.9% SiO2 and 2.9% Al2O3. 4 m @ 46.7% Fe, 25.6% SiO2 and 1.9% Al2O3.
Sequoia SA Apollo Minerals Ltd 66 m @ 38% Fe. 24 m @ 41.0% Fe. 6 m @ 42.4% Fe. 8 m @ 40.2% Fe.
Kalabity SA PepinNini Minerals Ltd 47.9% to >67.3% Fe from outcrop samples.
Sirius WA Brockman Resources Ltd 99.15 m @ 62.0% Fe. 70.05 m (cumulative thickness from two zones) @ 60.6% Fe.
Booylgoo Range WA Enterprise Metals Ltd 25-40% Fe from 18 outcrop samples. 59% to 62% Fe from two outcrop samples.
Three Pools WA Sheffield Resources Ltd 50 m @ 57.5% Fe. 42 m @ 57.6% Fe. 52 m @ 56.9% Fe. 46 m @ 56.2% Fe.
West Angelas WA Chrysalis Resources Ltd 22 m @ 48.1% Fe. 28 m @ 55.5% Fe (including 12 m @ 51.3% Fe). 12 m @ 51.3% Fe.
Peak Hill WA Padbury Mining Ltd and Aurium Resources 34 m @ 57.3% Fe. 27 m @ 57.8% Fe.
Woodley WA Golden West Resources Ltd 12 m @ 55.8% Fe. 10 m @ 58.2 % Fe. 16 m @ 58.8% Fe.
Table 2.10 A selection of Australian nickel exploration results in 2012.
Project State Company Significant Results
Ag = silver; Co = cobalt; Cu = copper; Ni = nickel; g/t = grams per tonne; m = metres; WA = Western Australia.
Source: Geoscience Australia.
Nova WA Sirius Resources NL 13.3 m @ 3.9% Ni, 2.0% Cu, 0.12% Co and 3.7 g/t Ag (including 7.15 m @ 5.1% Ni, 2.35% Cu, 0.15% Co and 4.0 g/t Ag).
Lanfranchi WA Panoramic Resources Ltd 39.5 m @ 1.79% Ni. 34.18 m @ 1.93% Ni. 46.72 m @ 1.84% Ni.
Table 2.11 A selection of Australian rare earth elements exploration results in 2012.
Project State Company Significant Results
Dy2O3 = dysprosium oxide; Nd2O3 = neodymium oxide; Pr2O3 = praseodymium oxide; ThO2 = thorium dioxide; U3O8 = uranium oxide; Y2O3 = yttrium oxide; HREO = heavy rare earth oxides; TREO = total rare earth oxides; kg/t = kilograms per tonne; Mt = million tonnes; t = tonnes; m = metres; NT = Northern Territory; Qld = Queensland; WA = Western Australia.
Source: Geoscience Australia.
Charley Creek NT Crossland Uranium Mines Ltd New Indicated Resource of 387 Mt containing 27 275 t xenotime, 160 900 t monazite and 195 580 t zircon. New Inferred Resource of 418 Mt containing 30 690 t xenotime, 167 235 t monazite and 219 980 t zircon.
Stromberg NT TUC Resources Ltd 5 m @ 0.43% TREO of which 81.9% is HREO, and including 1 m @ 0.92% TREO. 3 m @ 0.52% TREO (88.6% HREO/TREO). 2 m @ 0.43% TREO (95.6% HREO/TREO).
Mary Kathleen QLD Chinalco Yunnan Copper Resources Ltd and Goldsearch Ltd 19 m @ 2050 ppm TREO, 0.17 kg/t ThO2 and 0.04 kg/t U3O8. 22 m @ 1633 ppm TREO, 0.22 kg/t ThO2 and 0.03 kg/t U3O8. 34 m @ 2135 ppm TREO, 0.18 kg/t ThO2 and 0.03 kg/t U3O8.
Coorabulka QLD Krucible Metals Ltd 1.2 kg/t Y2O3, 4.02 kg/t Nd2O3, 1.08 kg/t Pr2O3 and 0.23 kg/t Dy2O3 from surface samples.
John Galt WA Northern Minerals 42% TREO including 3.68% Dy2O3 from rock chips.
Browns Range WA Northern Minerals 32 m @ 1.73% TREO (including 5 m @ 4.36% TREO). 20 m @ 2.36% TREO (including 9 m @ 4.92% TREO). 13 m @ 1.72% TREO (including 5 m @ 4.07% TREO).
Table 2.12 A selection of Australian uranium exploration results in 2012.
Project State Company Significant Results
U3O8 = uranium oxide; ppm = parts per million; m = metres; SA = South Australia; WA = Western Australia; eU3O8 is an indirect measure of the uranium grade gained by measuring gamma radiation from daughter products (Bi214) using a gamma-ray radiometric probe; pU3O8 is a direct measurement of uranium grade (U235) using a Prompt Fission Neutron probe.
Source: Geoscience Australia.
Fitton SA Core Exploration Ltd Identified 800 m strike length with grades >100 ppm U3O8 including one sample of 3370 pmm U3O8.
Blackbush SA Uranium SA Ltd 2.0 m @ 0.69% eU3O8. 1.0 m @ 1.15% eU3O8. 4.0 m @ 0.36% eU3O8.
Theseus WA Toro Energy Ltd 4.49 m @ 293 ppm pU3O8. 2.22 m @ 477 ppm pU3O8. 5.61 m @ 370 ppm pU3O8. 2.76 m @ 1347 ppm pU3O8.
Mopoke Well WA Energy Metals Ltd 2.64 m @ 282 ppm eU3O8. 3.08 m @ 237 ppm eU3O8. 3.64 m @ 197 ppm eU3O8. 1.86 m @ 258 ppm eU3O8. 2.02 m @ 221 ppm eU3O8.

Notes

  1. Australian Mineral Exploration Review 2012: http://www.ga.gov.au/metadata-gateway/metadata/record/gcat_75165/