Minerals Alert

October 2014

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

  1. Pre-competitive drilling completed in the Stavely Zone, western Victoria
  2. Release of the Handbook of Geochronology Mineral Separation Laboratory Techniques Content
  3. The role of government geoscience in the minerals industry
  4. New data reduces mineral exploration risk
  5. Update on geophysical data releases
  6. About Minerals Alert

1. Pre-Competitive drilling completed in the Stavely Zone, western Victoria

Drilling activities for the Stavely Greenfields Drilling Project have recently completed in the Stavely Zone of western Victoria. The Stavely Project is a collaborative program being undertaken in the prospective Stavely Zone of western Victoria with the Geological Survey of Victoria, in partnership with the Deep Exploration Technologies Cooperative Research Centre (DET CRC).

Fourteen fully-cored stratigraphic holes were drilled as part of the project using two different drilling methods. Sonic drilling methods were used to penetrate through Murray Basin cover. The use of sonic drilling has enabled near 100% recovery of unconsolidated cover materials, and provides some of the most complete stratigraphic holes through the Murray Basin. Diamond drilling took place at thirteen holes in order to obtain basement material for analysis. In a number of places, diamond drilling intersected Cambrian igneous rocks favourable for hosting porphyry copper-gold and volcanic-hosted massive sulphide mineral systems.

In total, over 2700 m was drilled. The recovered drill core is currently undergoing a comprehensive range of analyses, including petrophysical measurements, geochemistry and hyperspectral core logging. The results of this analysis, together with their implications for the presence of buried mineral systems in the Stavely area, will be released in 2015 as part of an explorer’s package outlining fairways for exploration.

For further information contact Anthony Schofield (anthony.schofield@ga.gov.au; 02 6249 9833).

2. Release of the Handbook of Geochronology Mineral Separation Laboratory Techniques Content

The main geochronological method used to date rocks by Geoscience Australia is U–Pb dating (predominantly of zircon) via Sensitive High Resolution Ion Microprobe (SHRIMP). The ages obtained constrain the timing of magmatic, metamorphic and hydrothermal events, and characterise the provenance of sedimentary rocks. These geochronological data contribute to insights into the geological evolution of the continent, and underpins improved tectonic models and correlations as well as mineral and energy system predictions.

The chain of quality control required for isotopic analysis begins with field sampling and continues in the Laboratory with mineral separation and final sample preparation. Meticulous attention to details during sample collection and processing procedures—that precede data acquisition, processing, report writing and data management—is instrumental in the provision of high-quality isotopic data.

The ‘Handbook of Geochronology Mineral Separation Laboratory Techniques’ provides a summary of key activities undertaken in the Geoscience Australia (GA) Geochronology Mineral Separation Laboratory, an in-house facility dedicated to the production of high-quality mineral separates for isotopic analysis. The ‘Handbook’ describes collection of fresh samples, safety, minimisation of contamination risks, cleaning, labelling, efficiencies in sample preparation and digital documentation of samples.

To obtain further details on mineral separation at Geoscience Australia, please email labs@ga.gov.au. Geochronology Datasets are available for download via the Geochron Delivery system. For further information on geochronology at Geoscience Australia, please email geochronology@ga.gov.au.

3. The role of government goescience in the minerals industry

Australia's mineral resources are an important component of the nation's wealth, both economically and socially. Governments across Australia recognise the challenges facing the minerals industry in continuing to make the discoveries essential to the success of the industry and health of the economy.

Significant resources are being devoted across all levels of government to provide the minerals industry with timely high-quality pre-competitive data and information to underpin and enhance 'greenfield' exploration programs.

Read the Geoscience Australia Insights article which gives an overview of the keynote presentation by Geoscience Australia's Deputy Chief Executive Officer Dr James Johnson given at the 2014 International Mining and Resources Conference which was held 22-26 September in Melbourne.

4. New data reduces mineral exploration risk

The largest Airborne Electromagnetic (AEM) survey by area ever undertaken in Australia will help reduce risk for mineral exploration in the Capricorn Orogen region of Western Australia.

The Capricorn TEMPEST Survey is a $2.5 million contribution to the Distal Footprints of Giant Ore Systems project, as part of the UNCOVER Initiative. The UNCOVER Initiative led by the Australian Academy of Science is building government, university and industry partnerships to bring a competitive advantage to Australian mineral exploration. An important part of exploring under cover is the ability to use pre-competitive data, to map and characterise Australia’s sediment cover and underlying mineralisation footprints.

Read the Geoscience Australia Insights article which gives  an overview of the outcomes from the Capricorn TEMPEST Survey.

5. 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.

6. 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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