Sunday 29th Mar, 2020

World’s largest airborne electromagnetic survey unearths mineral potential

The world’s largest airborne electromagnetic survey (AEM) has revealed new potential mineral and groundwater resources in the Northern Territory and Queensland.

The survey indicated the potential for new mineral deposits including gold, copper, nickel, lead, zinc and manganese alongside critical minerals such as cobalt, platinum-group elements and rare-earth elements.

AEMs use aircraft mounted equipment to map the electrical conductivity below the earth’s surface to a depth of several hundred metres, which creates a detailed 3D picture, similar to a CT scan. This was used to map potential resources underground between Tennant Creek and Mt Isa.

When integrated with datasets such as gravity, magnetic and radiometric maps of Australia, the AEM could reveal potential for groundwater resources as well.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said the data have received huge interest, with 13 exploration companies already signed up to participate in infill flying during the next survey, which will be acquired across and equally large area of the waste of the Northern Territory and into Western Australia.

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“We are investing heavily in word-class geoscience data acquisition programs, which are central to de-risking exploration and attracting more investment, an aim outlined in the recently released Australia’s National Resources Statement,” he said.

“This statement is a new national policy framework vital for planning and stability in the resources industry.

“The aim is to have the world’s most advanced, innovative and successful resources sector that delivers sustained prosperity and social development for all Australians.”

The geoscience data was collected by Geoscience Australia’s Exploring for the Future program, in partnership with the Northern Territory and Queensland Geological Surveys.