In a move that could revolutionise the way we search for resources in Australia, a team of the nation’s best scientists have been charged with improving the diminishing success rates of minerals exploration.

 

Focusing on the potentially lucrative Capricorn region of Western Australia, a $16 million project underway with CSIRO, Curtin University and The University of Western Australia seeks to develop a new way of discovering mineral deposits in the area.

“The Distal Footprints project is about addressing the fundamental limitations to mineral discovery,” said Graeme Hunt, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Transfield Services and Chair of the National Resource Sciences Precinct.

“Although there are potentially huge mineral deposits under its thick surface, the Capricorn region is a poorly explored and poorly understood area. By bringing together some of the best scientists in Australia, the project will tackle some of the technical risks and help industry to unlock this vast potential resource.”

Searching for underground resources is complex and expensive. Australia in particular has a unique geological make-up with a blanket of cover built up over millions of years making it difficult to detect deposits and therefore develop new mine sites.

“The project will deliver new data, interpretations, understanding and technologies to help discover mineral wealth in regions that until now have been difficult to explore” said Mr Hunt.

This ground-breaking approach to exploration aims to expand the search area used to identify the markers that point to large mineral deposits.

“We will be able to arm industry with the information they need to discover if resources are nearby, and in what direction and how deep they are.

“Distal Footprints are signatures we might expect to find around an ore deposit from distances of up to several tens of kilometres” said Mr Hunt.

The new capability will increase exploration certainty in Australia making it an attractive destination for investment, ensuring that the resources sector remains globally competitive.

The project is supported by funding awarded under the Federal Government’s Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF), as well as contributions from the WA Government’s Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia, industry, the Geological Survey of Western Australia and the National Resource Sciences Precinct (NRSP) foundation research partners.

The project is one of the first to be conducted under the auspices of the NRSP, a partnership between CSIRO, Curtin University and The University of Western Australia. The NRSP is connecting the world’s best researchers with industry and government to tackle some of the most complex challenges facing the resources industry.

For media enquiries or to arrange an interview, please contact
Ingrid Magtengaard, 0418 855 048 or Ingrid.Magtengaard@uwa.edu.au

Background:

A $4 million grant has been provided by the Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF) which provides grants to science and scientists for the purposes of assisting Australian industry, furthering the interests of the Australian community and contributing to the achievement of Australian national objectives.

A $2.6 million grant has been provided by the WA Government’s Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia (MRIWA). MRIWA is a statutory body established by the Western Australian Government to encourage development of the minerals industry within the state.

The remainder of the funding for the Distal Footprints project has been provided through a combination of industry, the Geological Survey of Western Australia and the National Resource Sciences Precinct (NRSP) foundation research partners (CSIRO, Curtin University and The University of Western Australia).