Exploring for the Future: Boosting onshore resources investment

Map showing the South Nicholson basin region

Geoscience Australia has released its first survey data under the $100-million Exploring for the Future program.

The surveys look at potential energy and mineral resources in the relatively-unexplored South Nicholson Basin, spanning the Northern Territory and Queensland border.

The four-year program will  deliver new pre-competitive data and information to help identify new minerals, energy and groundwater resources in collaboration with state and territory partners. It will help to guide and encourage investment in onshore resource exploration.

Geoscience Australia’s scientists and technicians are using innovative tools and techniques to gather the data, including: airborne electromagnetic surveys, stratigraphic drilling, seismic and gravity surveys, geochemistry, and magnetotelluric mapping.

“Exploring for the Future has the potential to be a key driver in unlocking the economic potential of northern Australia and parts of South Australia,” says Geoscience Australia’s Chief of Resources Division Dr Andrew Heap.

“Our previous work has demonstrated the benefits of initiatives like Exploring for the Future.

“For example, in 1996, we undertook $3 million worth of analysis in the Browse Basin off Western Australia’s northern coast. After assessing the Geoscience Australia’s data, INPEX Corporation discovered the Ichthys gas and condensate field, which will generate more than $72 billion in export earnings over the next forty years.

“And, in the Ord Valley in Western Australia, a $6 million data acquisition program to identify areas suitable for irrigation and those at risk from salinity run by Geoscience Australia and partners, has underpinned $1.2 billion worth of industry and government infrastructure in the area.”

Geoscience Australia undertakes targeted data acquisition programs and develops new information to highlight areas of enhanced mineral, energy and groundwater potential and provides industry with a national picture of Australia’s geology.

Geoscience Australia has made the new data available on its Exploring for the Future website, and will publish additional survey data on the north from early 2018.