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A pre-competitive geoscience workflow which aims to de-risk exploration in an under-explored, greenfields region of South Australia

The Coompana Province is located between the western Gawler Craton to the east, the Musgrave Province to the North and the Madura Province to the west, straddling the South Australian Western Australian border. The region is completely covered by Neoproterozoic to Cenozoic sediments of the Officer, Denman, Bight and Eucla basins. There are no known basement exposures and only ~12 existing drill holes that intersect basement in the region. Because of these factors the geology and mineral prospectivity of the region is largely unknown.

The GSSA and our project partners are committed to leading scientific understanding and driving discovery beneath post-mineralisation cover in South Australia through pre-competitive data capture and knowledge value-add, aligned with the objectives set out in the National Mineral Exploration Strategy and the UNCOVER Initiative.

The staged pre-competitive geoscience data acquisition workflow for the far west of South Australia includes:

  • The deep crustal seismic and magnetotelluric profile 13GA-EG1 (Eucla Gawler seismic line). A collaborative project between the GSSA, GA, The Geological Survey of Western Australia and AuSCOPE.
  • The Coompana airborne magnetic and radiometric survey. Currently the largest single survey in South Australia acquired by GA on behalf of the GSSA and funded through the PACE Frontiers initiative.
  • The Coompana Gravity Survey. A regional 2, 1 and 0.5 km gravity survey acquired as part of the Far West Discovery Program component of the South Australian Governments $20M PACE Copper initiative.
  • The Coompana pre-drilling geophysical characterisation of the cover using a combination of magnetic modelling, audio magnetotellurics, passive seismic, reflection seismic and micro-gravity in collaboration with GA and the CSIRO.
  • Completion of the regional AusLAMP magnetotelluric grid over the west of South Australia.
  • The Coompana Drilling Project, and;
  • A regional soil, soil gas and vegetation geochemistry survey conducted in collaboration with the CSIRO.

The key outcome of the program is to provide the community, industry and researchers with new pre-competitive data and a new knowledge framework that more clearly defines the geology and prospectivity in this region.

Specifically, the GSSA and our partners aim to:

  • Undertake rigorous scientific analysis of the retrieved samples to improve our understanding of the stratigraphy and tectono-thermal history of the region, to generate a knowledge-framework to understand the geological significance and potential for different mineral systems in the buried basement rocks beneath the Nullarbor Plain.
  • Provide new pre-competitive geological, geophysical and geochemical data in an under-explored greenfields area. This new data will be used to map cover thickness and character, identity possible distal footprints of buried mineralisation or mineralised terranes and estimate the depth to target source rocks which may have economic potential for various commodities.
  • Be an exemplar for reducing exploration risk in challenging greenfields regions and provide generic work flows and understanding that will be applicable for exploration and discovery in the far west of South Australia, utilising a best practice approach to environmental protection and safety in this sensitive and logistically challenging area.
  • Enhance each Project Parties organisational capabilities in drilling as a pre-competitive data product for research and industry through exposure to standard drilling technologies as well as innovative technologies where deemed appropriate.
  • Allow use of the data by a broad range of State and Federal government agencies, and private companies engaged in natural resources and water management.

For more information, contact:

Chris Wilcox
General Manager – Geoscience Initiatives (PACE)
+61 8 8463 3159
christopher.wilcox@sa.gov.au