4D geodynamic and metallogenic evolution of Australia

Last updated:7 June 2023

Geoscience Australia will continue to build on the temporal framework of the continent's geology through the ongoing operation of the world-class SHRIMP geochronological facility. The focus of age determinations will be on the regional geology of greenfield areas, in particular those being examined by drilling, and rocks that inform on key mineral systems.

Geoscience Australia has been developing methodologies to assess mineral prospectivity through a mineral systems approach, which will be tested at the regional-scale in the two drilling project areas. At the continental-scale, the focus will be on assessments of key mineral systems associated with mafic-ultramafic igneous rocks (including nickel, copper, platinum-group elements, chromium etc.), felsic igneous rocks (including copper, gold, tungsten, antimony etc.) and alkaline igneous rocks (such as lithium, rare-earth elements and diamonds). The first national assessment of Australia's 'critical commodities' was released in September 2013.

Geoscience Australia will build on a desk-top assessment of the potential of Australian salt lakes and groundwater systems to host key elements by undertaking a sampling and analysis programme in key salt lakes in the Northern Territory. The aim is to collect pre-competitive data on these under-sampled groundwater systems with the focus on potash, lithium, boron and uranium.

Distal footprints of ore deposits

Geoscience Australia's university and CSIRO partners have well-established projects tackling this theme. Geoscience Australia will continue to play a role by acquiring and compiling baseline geoscientific data that define regional background characteristics of the continent. These baseline data are essential for identifying anomalism associated with the footprints of mineral systems. The data include characterising type sections of geology and populating national databases such as OZCHEM (geochemistry), OZCHRON (geochronology), STRATINDEX (stratigraphy) and new surface geochemistry maps. Geoscience Australia will also compile its regional rock property holdings and deliver a database.

The Sensitive High-Resolution Ion Microprobe (SHRIMP) for precise age determination of Australia's rocks.