High tech exploration in Queensland, Australia

The Queensland Government is facilitating a trial of a sophisticated new technology which will enable local mining companies to maximise their chances of exploration success in the resource rich Northwest Minerals Province.

The six-month trial is due to commence in the next month, giving explorers operating in Mount Isa access to the latest hyperspectral scanning technology and all its applications. This exciting and innovative Australian-developed technology provides a more precise and detailed analysis of the mineral content of rock samples, the government says.

As part of the trial, Australian firm Corescan has brought its expertise and portable hyperspectral core-logging equipment to Mount Isa for Queensland explorers to test.

Unlike established geoscientific technology, Corescan’s advanced exploration technology produces much higher resolution mineral imaging and maps of the entire core rock face rather than just sections of the core. This means faster and more precise data to inform decision making on resource targets which can ultimately make all the difference in reaching a new investment decision from both a commercial and geoscientific perspective.

Corescan Managing Director, Neil Goodey said Corescan’s in-house scientific engineering group had developed and manufactured the technology. “Hyperspectral imaging is a very specialised area with only a handful of groups globally having the optical expertise to design and build spectrometers,” he said.

“Corescan is considered a world leader in this field, offering spatial and spectral resolutions beyond that of competing technologies. A key advantage of this technology is that stored historic core can be re-analysed and value added to deliver new geological knowledge to a project from a company’s existing investment in drilling.”

Glencore will be the first mineral explorer to road test the technology, with their initial scanning program expected to commence within the next month. In addition to providing faster and more precise data, accessing the technology locally from Mount Isa, in close proximity to their operations, will save Glencore on the cost of transporting core samples for analysis.

The Department of Natural Resources and Mines’ (DNRM) Geological Survey of Queensland scoped the trial in response to requests for increased geoscience support for the Northwest Minerals Province. Consultation with industry through the Northwest Minerals Province Taskforce in 2016 identified a need to examine advanced exploration technologies to improve the acquisition and use of data from core samples.

Corescan is operating its technology out of DNRM’s John Campbell Miles Core Storage facility in Mount Isa on an agreed fee for service basis.