The Commonwealth Government and the State Government of Western Australia have joined forces with the CSIRO and industry to launch a new project that is set to prolong the life of proven mines and reveal sites for new operations.
The year-long, intensive $1.685 million Pathways to High-Grade Ore: 3D Gradient Mapping of Mineral Systems project was launched at Kalgoorlie-Boulder’s historic Kanowna Belle gold mine.
WA’s Minerals Research Institute will contribute $395,000 in cash to the projects, while Northern Star Resources, La Mancha, Saracen Mineral Holdings, Excelsior Gold and Ramelius Resources will provide a combined $185,000. Northern Star is the biggest contributor of the abovementioned participants. CSIRO will provide $1.1 million in in-kind funding.
Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion said the research project had a significant upside for mining industry jobs.
“This is an ideal time to build on current gold sector activity, by using our world-leading science to target known gold-rich zones,” Mr Marmion said in a statement.
“Mining companies are helping sponsor the project because prolonging the life of proven operations is very cost-effective, especially when it comes to job security. While we wish industry sponsors like Northern Star a bright future, this research will also help point the way to new discoveries in promising greenfields areas such as the Yamarna greenstone belt, east of Laverton.”
Dr John Walshe and Dr Adam Bath of the CSIRO’s Mineral Resources Flagship will lead the research, building on their four previous Goldfields projects, which also received State Government funding.
As part of the research, mineral systems scientists will evaluate the earth’s crust to develop 3D modelling of gold-bearing systems centred on important Eastern Goldfields geological faults, which host major existing and potential mine sites.
“The Pathways project will start immediately and highlights the State Government’s commitment to WA business and employment. Extending gold discoveries in the legendary Yilgarn Craton will help sustain our vital Goldfields communities,” Mr Marmion said.
“The information gained will augment other major national mineral research programs, such as the Uncover project, and help underpin national exploration,” added Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane.