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Exploring for the future program delivers first results

20 October 2017

  • The first dataset has been released from a range of surveys looking at the potential energy, mineral and groundwater resources in a relatively-unexplored region spanning the Northern Territory – Queensland border.

  • The data have been produced by Geoscience Australia under the Coalition Government’s $100-million Exploring for the Future program.

  • This gravity dataset covers the 43,000-square-kilometre South Nicholson Basin, south of the Gulf of Carpentaria.

THE first dataset has been released from a range of surveys looking at the potential energy, mineral and groundwater resources in a relatively-unexplored region spanning the Northern Territory – Queensland border.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Barnaby Joyce said today the data had been produced by Geoscience Australia under the Coalition Government’s $100-million Exploring for the Future program.

“These are very preliminary data from the area – known as the South Nicholson Basin – and it’s too early to tell what might lie beneath the ground there,” Mr Joyce said.

“Results from continuing surveys and scientific analysis to be released as soon as early next year will give us a better idea of the energy, minerals and groundwater resources in the region.”

Minister Joyce said the South Nicholson gravity-survey results were the first of many datasets that would be released over the next three years.

“As part of the four-year Exploring for the Future program, we’re working on a number of projects with our state and territory counterparts to deliver new information about  mineral, energy and groundwater resources in Northern Australia.

“As announced in last year’s budget, the Coalition Government is investing $100.5 million in Exploring for the Future to promote Northern Australia as a destination for investors and help drive economic development across the region.

“By 2020, industry will have access to new and more detailed geological information of areas across Northern Australia, and in South Australia, allowing companies to explore and invest in Australia with greater confidence.”

Minister Joyce said the survey area in the South Nicholson Basin covered more than 40,000 square kilometres south of the Gulf of Carpentaria.

“This information was collected from ground-based gravity sensors in July this year. Seismic surveys have also been carried out and data from these are expected to be available early next year.

“Further survey work will commence when the summer Wet season ends and results released as soon as processing is completed.

“Together, these surveys will form a suite of new information on the geology and resource potential of a region that has been under-explored until now.”

The new data are now available via Geoscience Australia’s Geophysical Archive Data Delivery System and also accessible via the Exploring for the Future website.

Fast facts

  • Exploring for the Future aims to boost Australia's attractiveness as a destination for investment in resource exploration and improve our knowledge of its groundwater resources.
  • This $100.5 million Australian Government program is being conducted over four years, with activities being conducted across Northern Australia and parts of South Australia to release data to the resources industry.
  • As the Government’s geoscience organisation, Geoscience Australia promotes Australia’s resource potential by delivering “pre-competitive” data: data collected through various types of surveys and made freely available.
  • This South Nicholson gravity survey was conducted in July 2017, with 2,724 new gravity stations completed at four-kilometre spacing covering an area of 43,330 square kilometres (larger than the area of Switzerland).
  • The data were collected via a locally-contracted service provider using a Scintrex CG5 gravimeter and a high precision GPS system with transport of equipment and personnel provided by a Robinson R44 helicopter to minimise ground disturbance.
  • For more information on the Exploring for the Future program visit the Geoscience Australia website: http:ga.gov.au/eftf

Media Contact: Minister Joyce's office (02) 6277 7520