Breakthrough mineral prospecting in Western NSW unveils promising energy resources

A scientific drilling campaign in far-western New South Wales has unveiled a potential wealth of mineral resources crucial for Australia's clean energy future.

Geoscience australia far west
Westward facing photograph of the MinEx CRC RoXplorer drill pad in far western New South Wales - borehole location for NDILLK06. Image supplied by Geoscience Australia.

Managed by Geoscience Australia's Exploring for the Future program in partnership with MinEx CRC and the NSW Government, testing between March and June 2023 has yielded significant findings reshaping the mineral prospectivity of the state's far west.

Focused on the Delamerian Orogen, a largely unexplored region stretching over 2,000 kilometers across parts of New South Wales, South Australia, and Victoria, this exploration targeted uncovering untapped mineral deposits.

Results from extensive stratigraphic drilling in the Mildura and Broken Hill areas have pointed to the existence of uncharted gold, copper, nickel, and critical minerals essential for sustainable energy technologies like solar panels and electric car batteries.

Chris Lewis, Geoscience Australia's Director of Regional Geology and Drilling, stated that while these findings shed light on potential mineral wealth, substantial portions of the Delamerian Orogen remain obscured by up to 800 meters of younger rocks and sediments, especially within the Murray Basin.

Lewis highlighted the campaign's broader objective: to create a comprehensive overview of the entire region, aiming to connect known mineral discoveries with yet-to-be-found deposits. He stressed the importance of understanding the geological evolution of the area, indicating that the newly collected rock samples could link known mineral deposits to previously poorly understood geology beneath the Murray Basin.

A pivotal aspect of this breakthrough was the utilization of innovative drilling technology—the MinEx CRC RoXplorer coil tubing (CT) drilling platform—engineered in collaboration with industry leaders like Anglo American, BHP, and Epiroc. The CT platform, boasting a smaller drill site requirement and significantly reduced resource consumption during trials, promises a more sustainable and efficient approach to mineral exploration.

Results of the Delamerian Margins NSW National Drilling Initiative campaign are available here.

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