Exploring for the Future: 2020–2024
Geoscience Australia’s Exploring for the Future program was launched in 2016 to gather new data and information on Australia’s mineral, energy and groundwater resource potential, focused on northern Australia. In June 2020, the Australian Government announced a further $125 million investment in the program to expand it into southern Australia and investigate two resource potential corridors stretching the length of mainland Australia.
Program benefits include direct spending over the short-term in regional areas, industry exploration spending in the medium term and resource development over the longer term, generating a pipeline of resource discoveries and developments far into the future.
Eight projects are now underway, including three deep dive projects within the potentially resource-rich corridors, three continental-scale projects that have national application but with a focus in southern Australia, and two program support projects.
This deep dive project will investigate the mineral potential of the Curnamona Province and Delamerian Orogen in eastern South Australia, western New South Wales, western Victoria and western Tasmania. It will investigate the mineral and groundwater potential of overlying basins including the Murray-Darling Basin and the upper Darling River floodplain.
The central deserts of Australia represent a vast tract of Australia’s arid interior spanning Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory. This project will investigate the energy and minerals potential of the Officer Basin, while groundwater investigations will focus on the Musgrave Province and overlying Officer Basin.
This deep dive project is in the northern half of the Eastern Corridor and includes parts of the Northern Territory and Queensland. The project will add value to energy, mineral and groundwater work already undertaken in this region.
Australia’s Resources Framework
This continental-scale project will lay the foundations for a national scale view of Australia’s subsurface geology, bringing together a wide range of geoscientific disciplines to improve our knowledge of mineral, energy and groundwater systems.
National Groundwater Systems
This continental-scale project further refines the framework for the consistent understanding of national groundwater systems. The process begins with creating a phased inventory of Australia’s groundwater systems in onshore basins.
Australia’s Future Energy Resources
This project will evaluate the prospectivity and energy resource potential of key underexplored Australian basins with an initial focus on central Australian basins.
Enhanced Data Delivery
This project will support program data compilation and acquisition while also improving the user experience and functionality of existing integrated data discovery and decision support platforms and technologies.
Geoscience Knowledge Sharing
This project will undertake pilot education and outreach activities in selected program field areas, developing two-way relationships between the community and program staff. The project will build trust, an understanding of how the program can benefit local communities and foster two-way transfer of knowledge including promotion of the positive impacts of Exploring for the Future.
Australia and the north is a land rich in mineral resources. These resources have supported Australia's resilient economy for the last century, but over the last decade resource discovery has not kept pace with extraction and our share of international exploration expenditure has been in decline.
Australia is a vast continent which is largely under-explored in many regions. Large areas have poorly distributed data; some areas are completely untested for their resource potential. In addition, a large amount of onshore data is old and of poor quality.
Australia is the driest inhabited continent and the highest per capita user of water. As such, the Groundwater Sector plays a critical role in national water security. Groundwater represents 17 per cent of available fresh water within Australia and is essential for providing increased supply during periods of drought for agriculture and community consumption in many parts of the country.