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Mineral mapping set to re-invigorate exploration in Qld

17 July, 2007

Queensland’s mineral explorers are about to benefit from new advances in mineral mapping technologies.

New data gathering systems are now becoming available with operational airborne sensors, including the Australian HyMap™ system, providing calibrated hyperspectral visible to short wavelength infrared spectra from the Earth’s surface. The next step is to take this data and extract the mineralogy, so geologists can see what they are really looking at.

CSIRO’s Minerals Down Under Flagship Next Generation Mineral Mapping project is developing this capability.

Based on airborne hyperspectral Hymap data and satellite ASTER imagery, over 20 mineral composition maps cover 8250 square kilometres over mineralised structures in the Mount Isa region. Another 10 satellite mineral group maps cover 150,000 square kilometres around the greater Mount Isa region. The maps are supported by chemical analyses of samples collected during field validation.

According to CSIRO’s Dr Tom Cudahy, “Next Generation Mineral Mapping aims to empower the exploration industry with mineralogy. The final vision is a mineral map of Australia which, when combined with the HyLogging™ of every drill core’s mineralogy, can provide a 3D mineral map of the continent.”

“The release of the maps is expected to re-invigorate exploration activity in Queensland among junior explorers and well resourced companies.”Next Generation Mineral Mapping is a strong demonstration of the benefits of scientific collaboration. The Predictive Mineral Discovery Cooperative Research Centre and the CRC for landscape Environment and Mineral Exploration have helped to interpret the significance of the maps.

In addition, Geoscience Australia collaborated with the CSIRO-Geological Survey of Queensland team on how best to process and use Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer multispectral satellite data. Other collaborators include HyVista Corporation and the James Cook University, with funding from the Smart Exploration program.

The Geological Survey of Queensland’s Senior Geologist – Remote Sensing,  Mal Jones, is delighted with the release. “The benefits of the new maps to the exploration industry in Queensland are significant. Companies can improve their prospect targeting, enabling more efficient evaluation of their tenements,” he said.

“The mineral maps also support the development and evaluation of mineral emplacement models that lead to greater understanding of mineralising systems.”

The release of the maps is expected to re-invigorate exploration activity in Queensland among junior explorers and well resourced companies. It is hoped that it will also lead to significant new mineral discoveries.

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