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The launch of 14 new exploration release areas (ERAs) in South Australia's Far West represents an exciting new frontier for mineral exploration in the state.
This is a unique opportunity for the successful applicants to be first movers in a vastly under-explored frontier area, where the Geological Survey of South Australia continues to work in collaboration with the Geological Survey of Western Australia and Geoscience Australia to advance a new phase of mineral discoveries.
- The new ERAs cover a total of approximately 12 000km2 and are designed to coincide spatially with the collection of one of the largest geoscientific datasets in the state's history.
- Individual ERAs range in size from approximately 600 to 1200km2.
To promote exploration activity in this new frontier the minimum statutory expenditure for the first two-year term of the ERAs will be discounted by 50%
In the lead up to the June application period (6-10 June 2016) for the ERAs the Mineral Resources Division hosted an information session on 20 May 2016 to update industry on current understanding of the geology and mineral potential of the Coompana region, aspects of the upcoming geoscientific surveys and the ERA assessment process. Geoscience presentations included information on: the Coompana Province in a regional context; new geological constraints from recently acquired data; geophysical modelling of the Coompana magnetic anomaly; AusLAMP magnetotellurics in the far west of South Australia; and PACE pre-competitive data acquisition and the GSSA's future work program.
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The application period for exploration licence applications will be from 6-10 June 2016.
Conceptual geological models of the Coompana Province underscore its potential to be a highly prospective region for greenfields mineral exploration.
Mineral system potential includes:
- nickel-copper-cobalt-PGEs associated with layered mafic/ultramafic intrusives
- porphyry copper-gold
- VHMS and SEDEX base metal deposits
- orogenic gold
- mafic dyke associated copper
- paleochannel uranium
- unconformity related mineralisation.
The South Australian Government, through its Geological Survey, is helping to reduce the investment risk in this key region through a staged and comprehensive program of geoscientific data collection and interpretation.
New data currently available includes:
- Detailed Coompana aeromagnetic survey, funded through PACE - released December 2015
- download 2015 Coompana airborne survey (PDF) (MESA Journal 79 - Issue 4, 2015 p:18-21)
- download Preliminary interpretations from the 2015 Coompana aeromagnetic survey (PDF) (MESA Journal 79 - Issue 4, 2015 p:22-30)
- The dataset from the first section of the 13GA-EG1 seismic survey - this section of the line traversed approximately 360km of the western Gawler Craton, from Cook to Tarcoola
- download What lies beneath the western Gawler Craton? - seismic and magnetotelluric workshop (see p:16-17 MESA Journal 79, PDF 32MB)
- download What lies beneath the western Gawler Craton? Extended abstracts from the 13GA-EG1E Seismic and Magnetotelluric Workshop 2015 (PDF 13.3MB)
- Reconnaissance biogeochemical survey across the Nullarbor and Yellabinna regions of western South Australia (PDF) (MESA Journal 75 p:32-44), released early 2015
The data from these surveys is available on the South Australian Resources Information Geoserver (SARIG). Click on the What's new option in the top banner in SARIG for quick access to this data.
Data packages to be released during 2016-17 include:
- Eucla-Gawler seismic line interpretation - June 2016 at the Australian Earth Sciences Convention
- detailed airborne radiometric survey data - Quarter 3 2016
- extensive gravity survey comprising approximately 15 000 stations at 500m to 2km spacing - Quarter 4 2016
- regional magnetotellurics survey (AusLAMP) interpretation and modelling
- multiple passive-seismic surveys in collaboration with Geoscience Australia
- geochronology of basement core samples.
A PACE-funded regional stratigraphic drilling program will also be undertaken