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New maps a boon for Queensland mineral explorers

Australia: CSIRO’s Minerals Down Under Flagship is working with the Geological Survey of Queensland (GSQ) to provide Queensland’s mineral explorers with the benefits of exciting new advances in hyperspectral mineral mapping technologies.

Last year, the Geological Survey of Queensland (GSQ) released stage one of the Next Generation Mineral Mapping project – a series of over 20 maps covering more than 8000 square kilometres in the Mount Isa region. Stage two was officially released this week by the GSQ’s Executive Director Dave Mason at the Survey’s Digging Deeper seminar in Brisbane. The new GIS-compatible mineral maps provide explorers with valuable information that complements existing publicly available geophysical and geological data over highly prospective terrains.

CSIRO’s Dr Tom Cudahy says one of the new products is an innovative map of clay content ‘unmixed’ from the effects of green and dry vegetation. “New algorithms developed for this product enable geological patterns to be seen in areas with up to 70 per cent vegetation cover,” he says. “Previously, such a high vegetation cover would have masked geologically significant information.”

The GSQ’s Senior Geologist – Remote Sensing, Mal Jones, says the new maps include the abundance and composition of specific minerals, some of which can be linked to alteration haloes around economic mineralisation. “Alteration haloes are sought after as a possible indication of concealed mineral deposits. The maps will help empower the exploration industry with mineralogy,” Mr Jones says.

Access to the original stage one digital mineral maps via the CSIRO webpage at www.em.csiro.au/NGMM has resulted in more than a hundred Gigabytes of data being downloaded by potential explorers. It is expected that the stage two survey data will be even more popular. It spans 16,750 square kilometres, which includes 20 blocks approximately 15 kilometres wide from the Mount Isa, Georgetown, Hodgkinson and Charters Towers areas of northern Queensland.

The data and processing were sponsored by the Queensland Government’s Smart Exploration and Smart Mining programs, and CSIRO’s Minerals Down Under Flagship. The work has also benefitted from close collaboration with Geoscience Australia and James Cook University.