Minerals Alert

November 2014

A monthly online newsletter with product news, data releases and project highlights relating to the minerals and energy exploration industries.

  1. Spectral Geology
  2. New Platinum-Group Elements Report: Meeting global demand for precious metals in a high-tech world
  3. Update on geophysical data releases
  4. About Minerals Alert

1. Spectral Geology

Geoscience Australia is a user, supplier, archiver, and educator of many types of spectral data. From satellite, to airborne, to laboratory spectrometry, including ASTER, HyMap™ and HyLogger™ many of our projects have produced and utilised these datasets and associated value-added products.

Spectral geology measures portions of the electromagnetic spectrum to identify spectrally distinct and physically significant features of different rock and sediment types, their mineralogy, chemical changes and alteration signatures. Spectral techniques can also be used to study the atmosphere, vegetation, and even detect hydrocarbons present in the water column and on the sea surface, or dissolved organic matter and living micro-organisms. At Geoscience Australia, there are numerous projects across various disciplines which use spectral data to help understand and map geological parameters.

Geoscience Australia provides satellite-collected spectral data, such as MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer), ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer), Landsat and other imagery used for geoscience applications by clients around the world.

National ASTER geoscience maps

Geoscience Australia was part of the development and publication of the world's first continental ASTER mineral maps as part of a multi-agency project, led by CSIRO's Centre of Excellence for 3D Mineral Mapping (C3DMM) and State, Territory and Commonwealth agencies along with international partners.

A National ASTER mosaic and suite of 17 associated geoscience products on mineral group information were released at the 34th International Geological Congress in Brisbane in August 2012. The products can be viewed using Geoscience Australia's free ASTER WorldWind viewer, along with product notes and download information from this webpage.

HyLogging Programs

The HyLogger™ core scanning system, developed by CSIRO, is capable of automated core tray handling, continuous visible, infrared and thermal spectroscopy, and high-resolution digital imaging, to characterise and identify dominant mineral species on core, chips and pulps, at spatial resolutions of ~1cm (spectral data) and ~0.1mm (image data).

The system can log up to 350 metres of core per day and several thousand metres of drill chips. Mineralogy is pre-interpreted using specialised identification software trained on a selected suite of minerals showing characteristic absorption features within the measured spectral range.

Current Geoscience Australia projects that are using HyLogger™ data include:

  • Stavely Project - HyLogging of 13 (~1.5 km) diamond cores from the Stavely region of western Victoria has just been completed at the Geological Survey of South Australia facility. Another 13 sonic cores, generally the tops of the diamond hole portions, will be logged early in 2015. These data of both basement rocks as well as younger sedimentary units will be used to assist with detailed geological logging of the holes and the collection of samples for other analysis.
  • Onshore Energy Project - A selection of 25 stratigraphic, mineral and petroleum holes in the Georgina Basin were HyLogged at state and territory (NTGS, GSQ, NSWGS) facilities, and have been processed, interpreted and released. This work is being used to improve the understanding of Georgina Basin geology, and is helping to identify and map hydrocarbon source rocks in the basin.

Field and Laboratory Analyses

Geoscience Australia has a new portable Spectroradiometer, the FieldSpec 4, which provides high-quality visible-to-shortwave infrared spectral data, and has been working with CSIRO in Perth to scan and analyse surface (overbank sediment) samples from the National Geochemical Survey of Australia consisting of some 1,300 sites around Australia.

2. New Platinum-Group Elements Report: Meeting global demand for precious metals in a high-tech world

Despite Australia having favourable geological settings and an abundance of documented platinum-group elements (PGEs) occurrences indicating that potentially productive mineral systems have been active, Australia does not currently have a significant economically viable deposit in which PGEs are produced as the main commodity.

An up-to-date comprehensive compilation outlining the distribution, geological characteristics, resources and exploration potential for the PGEs has now been released by Geoscience Australia. The new report comprises:

  • a compilation of known PGE deposits and occurrences in Australia
  • an assessment of the prospectivity and resource potential for PGEs in Australia
  • a mineral-system framework that identifies the mineral forming processes required for the formation of PGE deposits and
  • a series of exploration guidelines that, in conjunction with the mineral system framework, can be used to predict the occurrence of new plays and new deposit types and therefore help to minimise exploration risk.

Read the Geoscience Australia Insights article which gives an overview of the report.

3. Update on geophysical data releases

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

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

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

4. About Minerals Alert

For more information, please email andrew.barrett@ga.gov.au, or phone +61 2 6249 9502.

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

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