Passive seismic survey to uncover WA’s ‘hidden resources’

By Melissa Coade

May 3, 2022

seismometer
The survey will deploy 165 seismometers in a grid pattern at 40-kilometre intervals. (Andrey VP/Adobe)

The Western Australian government has announced millions from its latest budget for a state-wide passive array seismic survey –  the largest of its kind to be undertaken anywhere in the world. 

The survey will deploy 165 seismometers in a grid pattern at 40-kilometre intervals — providing valuable insights into mineral deposits located across WA. Seismometers will be relocated annually, and the survey should have completed mapping of the entire state within 10 years.

In a statement on Monday energy, mines and petroleum minister Bill Johnston said data from the survey would drive further exploration of battery and critical minerals such as lithium, cobalt and nickel.

“The global transition to clean energy presents significant opportunities, which is why the McGowan government is working hard to invest in and attract new industries to WA,” Johnston said.

“We need to keep supporting the search for the mines of tomorrow.”

A total of $12 million over four years has been allocated in the 2022-23 budget for the endeavour.

The government hopes the subsurface imaging program known as WA-Array will make it easier to locate resources embedded deep below the earth’s surface. Most of the state’s known deposits are located near the earth’s surface.

The minister said all data collected from the survey would be rigorously assessed before being made freely available. He added the survey data will also provide insights to promote billions of dollars of further investment in exploration for critical minerals, and developing future mines and downstream processing in WA.

“It will digitally transform and supercharge the state’s mining industry — helping to attract investment and support even more local jobs for Western Australians,” Johnston said. 


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