Focused Integrated Studies

Unlocking the mineral potential of a region requires not only a suitable set of framework datasets but also focused integrated studies that synthesise disparate datasets and follow up gaps in knowledge with further targeted data acquisition. The frontier undercover region between Tennant Creek and Mount Isa was chosen as the main exemplar of the integration of craton, regional and district-scale datasets acquired over northern Australia, for the purpose of mineral potential assessment supported by regional stratigraphic drilling.

Three regional data acquisition programs have been completed over the Tennent Creek to Mount Isa focus area. The northern Australia geochemical survey (NAGS), which collected soil samples at 10 times the spatial density of the previous low-density national geochemical survey of Australia over almost the entire focus area. Groundwater bores near Tennant Creek and in the McArthur River region have been sampled to establish baseline geochemical characteristics and to determine whether signals of nearby mineral systems can be identified in the groundwater. Mineral potential assessments for iron oxide copper-gold and basin-hosted base metals are underway using currently available datasets and will be supplemented with new datasets as they become available. The South Nicholson Basin gravity survey was completed in July 2017 in order to infill significant gaps in the national gravity coverage. The data has been used in both mineral and energy potential assessments of the area.

From the outset of the minerals Exploring for the Future program, collaboration with the Geological Survey of South Australia was planned to undertake frontier stratigraphic drilling in the under-explored Coompana province in the southwestern part of South Australia.