Geoscience to unlock WA’s mineral potential

22 August, 2023

The Geological Survey of Western Australia (GSWA) teams up with the MinEx Cooperative Research Centre to embark on a transformative pre-competitive geoscience venture.

Addressing the challenge of declining mineral discovery rates, the National Drilling Initiative (NDI) takes centre stage. This visionary program aims to map and define potential mineral systems in remote and under explored regions of Western Australia.

Revolutionising Exploration Dynamics

With the mineral exploration landscape in mind, the NDI endeavours to alleviate financial and technical risks linked to exploration activities. A pivotal objective is to catalyse industry investment by furnishing top-tier pre-competitive geoscience data. It’s crucial to note that the NDI isn’t an exploration program.

Phase One: The Nifty Copper Operation

The NDI’s phase 1is currently in progress at the Nifty copper operation. It is wholly owned by Cyprium Metals post its acquisition from Metals X in March 2021. Located in the north-eastern Pilbara region, around 350km southeast of Port Hedland, this site is presently under care and maintenance.

Unravelling Geological Mysteries

The primary focus of NDI’s first phase is to conduct intensive drilling. Multiple boreholes, reaching depths of up to 500 meters, are set to unearth the geological factors influencing the sedimentary-hosted copper system. The project will employ innovative coiled tube technology, ensuring rapid, cost-effective, and eco-friendly access to bedrock.

Anticipated Timeline and Data Dissemination

Completion of the Nifty drilling operation is expected within a span of four to six weeks. The data is set to be unveiled later this year through the GSWA and MinEx data portals. These insights will unquestionably pave the way for fresh perspectives on sedimentary copper systems.

“Despite copper’s importance in driving net zero emissions, very little is understood geologically about sedimentary copper systems,” GSWA executive director Michele Spencer said.

“The Paterson Province is an important exploration frontier and the geoscience data we collect at the Nifty site will play an important role in driving exploration across the region and WA.”