The first data from a new mineral resources exploration project in northern Australia has confirmed the potential for a number of minerals, particularly copper and gold.
The National Drilling Initiative’s first drilling project since its formation was to investigate possibilities in a previously underexplored region within the Northern Territory.
Preliminary analysis of data and samples from 10 stratigraphic drill holes from the East Tennant region of the Barkly Tableland shows the area could be viable for mining copper and gold, in particular.
World’s largest mineral exploration partnership
Exploration was led by the MinEx Cooperative Research Centre with support from Geoscience Australia and the Northern Territory Geological Survey.
MinEx CRC is reportedly the world’s largest mineral exploration partnership. It is a collaboration among geological surveys, researchers and industry to undertake drilling in underexplored areas of potential mineral wealth in Australia.
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Keith Pitt, welcomed the results and said they were expected to be well-received by industry.
“The biggest technical challenge for the Australian mineral resources sector is how to effectively and efficiently explore for minerals concealed deep undercover,” he said.
Area has seen little exploration because of expense
“This area east of Tennant Creek has seen little mineral exploration because of the expense and risk of searching beneath the overlying sediments.
Pitt said that, while further analysis would be conducted in collaboration with MinEx CRC researchers, the drilling data confirms the view that the East Tennant region has the right geology to host a range of mineral systems.
The drilling uncovered copper mineralisation which could indicate that rich deposits occur in the region.
Exciting opportunity for future mineral explorers
NT’s East Tennant region was identified off the back of data collected through the Exploring for the Future Program, a $225-million Australian Government initiative. The updated information delivered by the project will help industry more effectively explore this region, potentially leading to a new wave of discoveries.
Northern Territory Minister for Mining and Industry, Nicole Manison, said the knowledge gained from the drilling project provides an exciting opportunity for future mineral explorers in the Territory.
“Mining is a huge job creator in the Northern Territory, employing over 4,400 people directly and with a number of projects in the pipeline we can only expect this number to boom,” she said.