Unlocking Australia’s deep mineral wealth

By Keirissa Lawson

22 March 2016

2 minute read

Tree and 4 wheel drive vechicle in outback landscape

To unlock new mineral discoveries we will need to explore deeper under cover.

From the toothpaste we use to brush our teeth in the morning to the smartphones we rely on ‘for everything’, our dependence on minerals has become interwoven into the very fabric of our modern daily lives.

Our country and our economy has prospered from the mineral commodities we use at home and export abroad. Yet after 150 years of mining, most of Australia’s easily mineable mineral deposits have been discovered near the surface. The greatest proportion of our true mineral wealth is yet to be discovered, hidden beneath a thick cover of unconsolidated rock and soil, sediments and igneous rocks which have been laid down over hundreds of millions of years.

The next frontier for greenfield explorers lies in locating these deep ore bodies; a challenge which requires new technologies, skills and knowledge to make such endeavours cost-effective and profitable.

We are part of UNCOVER, the largest geoscience initiative in 100 years involving government, research and industry which aims to increase the success rate of deep mineral exploration beneath cover in Australia. Our work is striving to ‘see’ through the cover for clues to where deep mineral deposits are located. We are leading work to understand ‘distal footprints’ – chemical and magnetic signatures left by minerals – and developing tools that can point to prospective orebodies that lie far below the surface.

In our latest edition of resourceful we examine the concerted effort between the research sector, industry and government to develop new cost-effective and reliable tools to unlock Australia’s hidden mineral potential and secure the future of Australian mining.

Learn more about our mineral resources work and subscribe to resourceful.