Uni heads up new mineral exploration initiative

Wednesday, 21 January 2004

The University of Adelaide has successfully attracted $576,000 worth of funding from the Australian Research Council to research the mineral exploration potential of South Australia's Gawler Craton area.

Dr. Martin Hand from the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences heads the University of Adelaide team.

They will work in collaboration with research partners from Monash University and Primary Industries and Resources SA, with the latter adding a further $291,000 to the project to bring the total amount to $867,000.

"The group in the Faculty of Sciences will aim to construct a geologic framework for the highly prospective Gawler Craton area. This information will be of use to companies contemplating exploration in the region.

"The framework will be developed using several cutting edge technologies housed in the Faculty of Sciences, including thermal ionisation mass spectrometry, mineral dating using electron microscopy and probing the earth's outer 200 km using electromagnetic waves," says Dr. Karin Barovich, from the Faculty of Sciences.

The Gawler Craton is located north of the Eyre Peninsula and has long been viewed as an area of high mineral exploration potential. The Gawler Craton covers roughly all the area to the west of Port Augusta, north to Mintabie, and to the Western Australian border - an area roughly the size of Germany. The Craton has long been viewed as an area of high mineral exploration potential. It hosts the enormous Olympic Dam copper-gold deposit, discovered in 1975 by WMC Resources.

"Geologists worldwide believe that there is further potential for new deposits to be found within the Craton, but exploration to date has been hindered by the lack of a modern geologic framework," says Dr Barovich.

Professor Richard Hillis, the newly appointed Mawson Chair of Geology and Geophysics at the University and SA Chair of Petroleum Geology, says that "in particular the Craton has created excitement within the nickel, gold and copper mining industries."

Dr Barovich adds that "our work will highlight the mineral exploration potential of South Australia and assist PIRSA in boosting exploration expenditure in SA to $100 million per annum by 2007."

This mineral exploration initiative will further enhance the University's reputation as a leader in the fields of Geology and Geophysics and follows the recent appointment of Professor Stewart Greenhalgh to the chair of Geophysics, Professor Richard Hillis to the Mawson Chair of Geology and Geophysics and the opening of the Australian School of Petroleum last year.

Professor Peter Rathjen, Executive Dean, Faculty of Sciences says that "our Geology and Geophysics graduates are highly sought after by industry and we believe this trend is set to continue because of the world class teaching, industry linkages and practical knowledge we offer our students."


Contact Details

Professor Richard Hillis
Email: rhillis@asp.adelaide.edu.au
Website: http://www.asp.adelaide.edu.au/
PIRSA Professor of Petroleum Geology
Director, Institute for Mineral and Energy Resources; Head, Australian School of Petroleum; Interim Director, South Australian Centre of Excellence for Geothermal Research
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 3080
Mobile: 0418 110 737

Associate Professor Karin Barovich
Email: karin.barovich@adelaide.edu.au
Geology & Geophysics
School of Earth & Environmental Sciences
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 3870

Media Team
Email: media@adelaide.edu.au
Website: https://www.adelaide.edu.au/newsroom/
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 0814