Potentially mineral-rich area in Northern Australia three times larger than previously known
New data collected between the world-class mineral-endowed regions of Mount Isa and Tennant Creek shows the South Nicholson Basin is three times larger than previously thought.
Coinciding with the Annual Geoscience Exploration Seminar being held in Alice Springs this week, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Matt Canavan announced the release of the new seismic data from the Exploring for the Future program. The data and information provides valuable insight for exploration companies to identify new prospects for petroleum and mineral exploration.
The study is one of the largest of its kind ever undertaken in Australia – consisting of five seismic lines with more than 1,100 km of seismic reflection data collected across the Northern Territory and Queensland border.
Based on this new information, updated geology maps reveal the basin is approximately three times larger, with the new outline increasing the area of the basin from 37,921 to 91,368 square kilometres. Together with previously released gravity data, this dramatically increases our geological understanding of this poorly understood region.
Following this data release, more datasets and comprehensive analysis will be released later in the year, followed by targeted stratigraphic drilling in 2019.
Map comparing the new versus old outline of the South Nicholson Basin
This major data acquisition is one of 17 projects underway across northern Australia and South Australia, as part of the $100.5 million Exploring for the Future program led by Geoscience Australia. The seismic reflection survey was undertaken in partnership with the Northern Territory Geological Survey, the Geological Survey of Queensland and AuScope.
With the first year of field work now complete, Geoscience Australia teams have collected a range of valuable pre-competitive data and information across northern Australia and parts of South Australia.
Over the next two years we will be collecting even more geoscientific data and then processing and compiling it to make it freely available for public use. Our scientists and technicians are using innovative tools and techniques to gather new data using geophysical surveys, geochemical sampling, hydrological mapping and stratigraphic drilling.
Vibroseis trucks alongside the Barkly Highway, Queensland, working on the South Nicholson Basin seismic line