Revealing Australia's hidden wealth
Yesterday the MinEx Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) launched the National Drilling Initiative (NDI), a world-first scientific drilling program which will sample rocks from vast undercover and unexplored regions of Australia.
Australia has a rich mining heritage and is blessed with abundant mineral resources. However, vast areas of Australia are poorly understood because prospective rocks are hidden below younger rocks, soils and sand. The NDI is not an exploration program however it will seek to understand the evolution of our continent, provide clues as to where to search for new mineral deposits and bring forward the next generation of mineral exploration technology.
The NDI, in collaboration with Geoscience Australia, the Northern Territory Geological Survey (NTGS) a division of the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade, and geological survey organisations in every state and territory will manage and deliver a seven-year program with multiple drilling campaigns spread across the continent. Holes are now being drilled in regions to understand the geology in three dimensions.
The first of the NDI drilling campaigns, a collaboration between MinEx CRC, Geoscience Australia and the NTGS commenced today in the East Tennant and South Nicholson areas in the Northern Territory.
The drilling campaigns aim to open up new regions for mineral exploration beneath the Barkly Tableland by building an understanding of the geological framework of the region.
The South Nicholson area contains a large sedimentary basin which ore sent key opportunities to increase understanding of its scientific potential and the possibilities that may exist for mineral, energy and groundwater exploration.
Ian Scrimgeour, Executive Director NT Geological Survey said the Barkly Tableland is an exciting frontier region for exploration in the Northern Territory. "With virtually no geology exposed at surface, drilling is the best approach to understand the rocks beneath the soil. NTGS are delighted to be collaborating with MinEx CRC and GA on this program which has the potential to transform our understanding of the geology and resource potential of the region," he said.
In addition to using conventional drilling methods, the NDI will deploy innovative mineral exploration technologies currently being developed by MinEx CRC and sponsoring organisations. These technologies will reduce the environmental footprint of the drill program (smaller drill site, lower water and energy usage), improve safety and deliver greater volume and detail of information at a lower cost. The NDI will provide a testing platform to refine and optimise these technologies, bringing them closer to market.
Find out more about the MinEx CRC mineral exploration collaboration. Visit the NTGS website to learn more about NTGS and to access a large range of online systems and databases and geological products.