Home > Macfarlane > Media Releases >  $1.6m Pathways project paves way for golden future

$1.6m Pathways project paves way for golden future

30 June 2015

Joint media release with the Hon Bill Marmion MLA, Western Australian Minister for Mines and Petroleum.

Today the Commonwealth and Western Australian Governments have joined with key gold industry players in a $1.685 million quest to prolong the life of proven mines and reveal sites for new operations.

Australian Industry and Science Minister Ian Macfarlane and WA Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion said the Pathways To High-Grade Ore: 3D Gradient Mapping Of Mineral Systems project held significant promise for mining industry jobs.

“This will bring together the CSIRO’s world-leading science with a Western Australian industry that employs thousands of people,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“It holds great promise for the WA mining sector but it will have implications for gold and copper discovery across Australia.”

Mineral systems scientists will evaluate the earth’s crust to develop 3D modelling of gold-bearing systems centred on important Eastern Goldfields geological faults, which host major existing and potential mine sites.

Launching the project at Kalgoorlie’s famous Kanowna Belle mine, Mr Marmion said now was an ideal time to capitalise on gold industry activity.

“Mining companies are helping sponsor the project because extending the life of existing operations is very cost-effective, especially when it comes to job security,” he said.

“Researchers will start this intensive, 12-month project immediately, linking sampling on the WA Goldfields with high-tech analysis in the CSIRO’s Perth laboratories.”

The CSIRO will provide $1.105 million in in-kind funding, including data processing, scanning electron microscope analytics and 3D modelling.

The WA Government’s Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia (MRIWA) will contribute $395,000, the main cash component of the project. Five WA gold producers will also contribute, with Kanowna Belle owner Northern Star Resources the major industry sponsor.

Mr Marmion said the 3D modelling would guide exploration and mine expansion at sponsors’ sites.

“We wish industry sponsors like Northern Star well but this research will also help point the way to new discoveries in promising greenfields areas such as WA’s Yamarna Greenstone Belt,” he said.

Dr John Walshe and Dr Adam Bath of the CSIRO’s Mineral Resources Flagship will lead the research, building on their four previous WA Goldfields projects.

“The information gained will augment other major national mineral research programs, such as the Uncover project, and help underpin national exploration,” Mr Macfarlane said.

Media contacts: Mr Macfarlane's office 02 6277 7070