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Havilah Resources’ Kalkaroo copper project in South Australia.

  • New data from the Australian Government’s Exploring for the Future initiative could benefit the mining of minerals such as copper, gold, lead and zinc in southern Australia.

As part of a large airborne electromagnetic (AEM) survey, Geoscience Australia explored the geology of parts of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia.

The survey scoured more than 600,000 square kilometres – an area nearly the size of France – and provided an unprecedented snapshot of the region’s resources potential.

According to Geoscience Australia Minerals, Energy and Groundwater division chief Andrew Heap, the possibilities of southern Australia can be put down to ancient geological occurrences.

“This area once hosted ancient mountains and volcanoes formed during a period of intense mountain-building about 490 to 514 million years ago,” he said.

“Because of this, we think this region has potential to host a wide range of mineral deposits including copper, gold, lead and zinc, as well as critical minerals.”

The Curnamona Province was also highlighted, which has hydrogen gas potential to bolster its known iron oxide copper gold deposits.

“The Curnamona Province has been one of Australia’s premier mineral production regions for nearly 140 years and hosts the world-class Broken Hill lead-zinc-silver-gold deposit,” Heap continued.

“The region could also host natural hydrogen gas seeps – created by chemical reactions between water and sulphide-bearing rocks – which could assist Australia’s transition to a lower-emissions energy future.”

While this is the first major dataset from the Exploring for the Future program regarding southern Australia, previous AEM surveys in the Northern Territory and Queensland led to significant mining tenement interest.

According to Heap, there’s been “more than 160,000 square kilometres of exploration tenement uptake by industry between East Tennant and Mount Isa” since first surveys were conducted following the establishment of Exploring for the Future in 2016.

Federal Minister for Resources and Water Keith Pitt said the data is instantaneously valid, meaning potential projects can begin preparations.

“Geoscience Australia will now analyse results of the survey but industry, with the expertise to interpret the published data, can start using it now to find new opportunities for exploration,” Pitt said.