Deep Resources

Deep resources

With around 90 per cent of Australia covered by rock that we can’t ‘see’ through, finding resources is very difficult. They are tiny targets on the continental scale.

Most of the world’s ore bodies at the earth’s surface have already been located and mined. The task now is to find those buried deep below the surface under much younger rock.

To truly make a discovery we must drill. This is costly and risky, because if a drill hole misses an ore body–even by a few metres–then the deposit will remain undiscovered. Our challenge is to develop the best methods for predicting and mapping ore deposits under cover.

Oil and gas resources are also becoming more difficult to find and access, with most new fields located deep within the earth’s crust and in some cases under very deep parts of the ocean. Searching for these resources at depth is a significant challenge.

Our impact

IMER is addressing this challenge by:

  • studying the geology of areas that used to be connected to Australia, like Antarctica and India, to better understand Australia’s geological history;
  • analysing the geochemistry of rocks collected from drill samples to map key indicators of significant resources;
  • using geophysical techniques like seismic and magnetotellurics to image what’s hiding under cover;
  • conducting socio-economic research on the impact of proposed developments on communities and businesses.

Our interdisciplinary teams

Great Australian Bight Research Program

A collaboration between BP, CSIRO, the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), the University of Adelaide, and Flinders University.


Australian Lithospheric Architecture Magnetotelluric Project (AusLAMP)

Mapping the geological footprint of the continent.


Deep Exploration Technologies Cooperative Research Centre (DETCRC)

DET CRC research programs are finding more successful, cheaper and safer ways to drill, analyse and target deep mineral deposits.