Aerial surveys to collect geophysical data on Queensland’s northwest

By Melissa Coade

Wednesday June 23, 2021

Kamilaroi-McKay-The search for QLD's next mineral projects hotspot is underway.
The search for QLD’s next mineral projects hotspot is underway. (Adobe/markrhiggins)

The search for Queensland’s next mineral projects hotspot is underway, with a 6,000 square-kilometre aerial survey around the Kamilaroi area 150 kilometers north of Mt Isa.

This will be the fifth in a series of high-resolution surveys that the Queensland government has conducted across 40,000 square-kilometres since the 1990s.

Queensland resources minister Scott Stewart said the airborne magnetic and radio survey would provide high resolution geophysical data to help the government decide which areas of land had the ‘highest potential’ for discoveries of new mineral deposits.

The tool allows the government to map geological rock types and geological structures at the surface level and to significant depths undercover. 

“As part of the survey data is captured by a fixed-wing aircraft flying about 60m above the ground along flight lines spaced 100m apart,” Stewart said. 

“Once captured, the data is combined to produce a series of high-resolution maps that show the magnetic intensity and natural concentrations of radiogenic elements present on the surface.”

The minister said the state’s minerals rich north west area was being scoped for potential copper and cobalt as global demand grew for renewable energy and advanced technologies. These ‘new economy’ minerals were being sought as part of Queensland’s New Economy Minerals initiative. 

“Geophysical surveys help explorers to see through soil cover to the prospective geology underneath, increasing the search space for minerals,” Stewart explained, adding that geological understanding gained from the surveys would help to ‘give industry further confidence to invest in new exploration opportunities’.

“New mineral discoveries, data and exploration are key to unlocking new projects which will create jobs which is a key part of Queensland’s economic plan for recovery,” he said. 

All physical data compiled by the geological survey of Queensland will be made available to the public from the GSQ open data portal website. Researchers, geophysicists and explorers will also be free to access the information.


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