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research program 2

mineral exploration in areas of cover

Laterite geochemical map of the western Yilgarn Craton

Project Leader : Matthias Cornelius, CSIRO Exploration and Mining and Paul Morris, Geological Survey WA

Start date and duration: July 2003; 4 years

Participants : CSIRO Exploration and Mining and Geological Survey WA

Brief project description :

The project is aimed at establishing a geochemical atlas for the Western Yilgarn Craton, using lateritic residuum, lag derived from lateritic residuum and lateritic detritus from colluvium. The overall objective of a geochemical atlas is to identify major new geochemical trends and provinces, both in residual and in depositional terrains, that could assist exploration and lead to the discovery of new mineral deposits. The project is in collaboration with the Geological Survey of Western Australia and MERIWA.

To date, approximately 2000 samples from the southwest quadrant of the Yilgarn Craton have been analysed and results have been published as CRC LEME OFR201 in March 2006.

In 2006, sampling will continue in the NW quadrant and a number of laterite samples from previous CSIRO and CRC LEME studies, representing different styles of mineralization and different commodities, and different bedrock types, e.g., from Golden Grove, Boddington, Mt Gibson, Lawlers, Ora Banda, Beasley Creek, will also be included for analysis to provide target data sets for statistical evaluation using multivariate analysis. Representative samples from various parts of the western Yilgarn and samples both with an unusual and a typical geochemical composition will undergo mineralogical investigation.

Deliverables (outputs) and expected impacts of research (outcomes):

  • Collect approximately 700 samples in the northwestern Yilgarn and analyse using ICP-MS and XRF.
  • P rod uce imaged concentration maps for 53 elements.
  • Correlate geochemistry with major lithological bedrock units and structural features.
  • Identify major new geochemical trends and provinces.
  • Calculate exploration indices, e.g., CHI and PEG (after Smith and Perdrix).
  • Calculate summary statistics.
  • Provide quality control.
  • Characterize the mineralogy and fabric of representative samples.
  • Link data to company data sets (e.g., Dominion Mining) and establish projects with industry partners to follow-up specific trends or anomalies


October 2006 Complete all sampling including helicopter work (subject to sufficient field support staff)

April/May 2007 Final project report (GSWA Record/MERIWA Final Report) and release of all data into the public domain

September 2007 Present results at the IGES in Spain

December 2007 Submit draft paper to an international journal (GEEA)




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