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World’s largest airborne electromagnetic survey reveals potential new areas for natural resources in Northern Australia

13 June 2018

The Australian Government today released data collected from the world’s largest airborne electromagnetic survey (AusAEM) from an area on the border of the Northern Territory and Queensland.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said the data – released today by Geoscience Australia at the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies conference in Perth – will assist the exploration industry with identifying prospective areas between Mount Isa and Tennant Creek.

“The large-scale airborne survey is a world first innovation, which when completed will cover more than one million square kilometres – an area larger than France and Germany combined – to help identify potential new mineral deposits buried under cover,” Minister Canavan said.

“Similar to how a CT scan shows medical images of the inside of the body to understand and measure what is hidden from view, airborne electromagnetic technology is used to create images of the subsurface to a depth of several hundred metres.

“When interpreted, the data can help detect potentially mineralised structures not seen at the surface by traditional geoscience methods. 

“Every piece of information we place in the hands of exploration companies helps them to zero-in on mineral deposits such as copper, a sought after commodity critical to modern technologies.”

Undertaken as part of the Exploring for the Future program, this is the first phase of the AusAEM survey. A second survey planned for later in 2018 will continue west across the Northern Territory and into Western Australia to increase the understanding of this vast region’s resource potential. Data integration and interpretation will continue through 2018 to identify target areas in the Mount Isa and Tennant Creek region for stratigraphic drilling in 2019 to guide industry exploration.

“This important preliminary work will reduce investment risk, and is vital to stimulating more exploration activity across northern Australia which will underpin future prosperity,” Minister Canavan said.

The AusAEM survey is one of 18 projects underway across northern Australia and South Australia as part of the $100.5 million Exploring for the Future (EFTF) program led by Geoscience Australia and was undertaken by CGG Aviation (Australia) Pty Ltd.

Geoscience Australia has been acquiring and delivering geoscience data and information to Government and industry for more than 70 years, building a knowledge base that has led industry to make numerous mineral and petroleum discoveries.

For more information visit www.ga.gov.au/eftf

Media contact: Minister Canavan's office 02 6277 7180