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GSSA Project AreasThe current GSSA project portfolio is designed to reduce exploration risk and cost by providing high-quality precompetitive exploration data, and an improved geological framework and approach, particularly for covered, greenfields regions of South Australia.

This is done by improving the fundamental geological understanding of key provinces, and developing robust geological models (such as lithospheric architecture and context). Finding ways to 'see through' and characterise the cover, understanding ore deposit origins and prediction through 4D geodynamic and metallogenic evolution, and recognising geochemical and geophysical 'footprints' of mineral deposits, will assist the minerals industry in unlocking the potential economic benefits from resources hidden within our rocks.

Eastern Gawler Craton

This project aims to improve our understanding of regional geology, alteration and mineralisation related to the ~1590 Ma Hiltaba event within the highly prospective eastern Gawler Craton. A particular challenge being addressed is to reduce exploration risk in an area where prospective basement is overlain by a thick cover of sedimentary and volcanic rocks.

Facets of the project include:

  • constraining the timing of mineral systems
  • improved geophysical grids
  • magnetic and gravity inversions
  • mapping variation in metamorphic grade
  • mapping mineralogy and alteration under cover through spectral and geochemical data collection
  • updated solid geology interpretation
  • modelling prospectivity by integrating key mappable components of a mineral system
  • Uncovering new geology and assessing mineral potential (The Mineral Systems Drilling Program 2015)
  • Facilitating the development of technology that enables more effective exploration in covered areas (Deep Exploration Technology Cooperative Research Centre)

More about the Eastern Gawler Craton project

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Southern Gawler Range Volcanics Margin

Mineral exploration near the southern margin of the Gawler Ranges has identified various styles of mineralisation, including Au-Cu (Sn, W) skarns, hydrothermal replacement Pb, Zn, and epithermal vein and breccia-hosted Ag, Au, Zn, Pb. Recent dating of porphyries and skarns, from several deposits, indicates mineralisation formed during the ~1590 Ma Gawler Range Volcanics and Hiltaba Suite event, mostly by hydrothermal activity at high crustal levels. The outputs of this project will focus on updating the stratigraphy of the lower Gawler Range Volcanics (GRV) along the southern margin of the Gawler Ranges and the underlying Mesoarchean to Mesoproterozoic basement on the PORT AUGUSTA and YARDEA 250K map sheets. Particular attention will be given to the identification of volcanic centres of the lower GRV, which are known to host mineralisation (e.g. Olympic Dam and Menninnie Dam), determining the thickness and subsurface extent of the GRV, and the tectonic setting and structural controls on mineralisation.

The project will also aim to promote and assist ongoing exploration through broader contextual understanding of the regional mineral system. Key aspects will include deposit characteristics, mineralisation controls, and recommended exploration strategies based on past success, pilot studies, regional data compilation, and revised mineral system models.

The Mineral Systems Drilling Program 2015 was a key activity within this project and provided improved understanding of the stratigraphy, volcanic setting and mineral potential of the southern Gawler Ranges.

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Eucla/Western Gawler Basement

The western Gawler Craton and basement to the Eucla Basin are some of the last truly underexplored greenfield terrains in South Australia. Located under shallow to thick cover, the regions present a significant opportunity to open up new ground for exploration in the state and to probe methods for exploring through cover.

The Eucla/Western Gawler Craton basement, including the Fowler Domain and Coompana Block, has potential to host significant mafic to ultramafic style mineralisation (Cu-Ni-PGE), orogenic style gold mineralisation hosted within crustal scale shear zones and sedimentary-exhalative type base metal deposits within high metamorphic-grade sedimentary packages.

New regional geophysical data including deep crustal seismic, magnetics and radiometrics collected as part of this project, coupled with new geochemical, geochronological and isotopic data from drill holes, will allow for a robust solid geology map and geological framework to be built for this underexplored region. Together with surface geochemical and biogeochemical sampling and possibly regional drilling, new exploration models for this region will be developed, opening up new opportunities for explorers in South Australia.

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Musgrave Province

The South Australian Musgrave Province is one of the least-known, most underexplored, basement geological provinces in Australia. The Province is considered highly prospective for magmatic Ni-Cu-PGE, base metals, chromium and a wide range of other commodities, however further characterisation of this prospectivity is hampered by a limited geological understanding. This project is designed to reduce exploration risk by providing new geological mapping, supportive geochemical and geochronological data, regolith mapping and landscape evolution data in order to generate a robust understanding of the South Australian portion of the Province’s geological history and mineral potential.

The program involves systematic mapping and associated data collection and synthesis, beginning in the east and progressing westwards. The GSSA will encourage mineral exploration in the APY lands through collaboration with industry and through continued dialogue and negotiations with the APY executive and General Manager.

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Curnamona Province

The Curnamona Province hosts the world-class Broken Hill Pb–Zn–Ag orebody in New South Wales, and potential exists for Mt Isa – McArthur Basin style Zn–Pb–Ag deposits, and Cu–Au deposits of IOCG style, proximal to regional redox boundaries. This project comprises two modules which aim to improve the geological understanding of the province and provide a better framework for assessing its mineral potential:

  • Compilation of six 1:100,000 scale regional geological map sheets (largely based on re-interpretation of previous mapping) and geological synthesis of the southern, largely outcropping part of the Curnamona Province in South Australia. New detailed mapping is being carried out in key areas, including the highly prospective Bimbowrie Conservation Park, a type area for many of the stratigraphic units, structural features and mineralisation styles of the region.
  • Investigation of the mineral potential of the largely subsurface northern Curnamona Province through geochemical and petrological study of drill cores and geobotanical sampling, with a focus on potential IOCG deposits. A new geological map of the outcropping Mount Painter Inlier and environs, and a report detailing the geology and mineralisation of that region, will be prepared are nearing completion.

The 2013 Memorandum of Understanding involving the Geological Surveys of NSW and SA provides a framework for collaboration to achieve common goals, such as seamless cross-border geological maps, mineral potential investigations and an annual technical symposium and field trip associated with the Resource and Investment Conference held in Broken Hill.

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South Australian Sedimentary Basins

South Australian sedimentary basins and associated drainage networks host significant resources of heavy mineral sands and uranium, and are prospective for other placer and chemical mineral deposits. The project is directed towards understanding sediment distribution, depositional environments and processes leading to formation of mineral deposits. Investigations in the Eucla and Murray basins analyse basin-wide depositional environments and associated heavy minerals. In the Frome Embayment (Mesozoic) and overlying Callabonna Sub-basin (Cenozoic) the focus is on the factors controlling uranium precipitation, and the effect of salinity gradients on uranium distribution. Emphasis of research in the Cariewerloo Basin (Mesoproterozoic) is on refining vectors to target potential unconformity-style uranium deposits.

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