Nov 25, 2020

Workshop highlights North West minerals promise

Workshop highlights North West minerals promise A glimpse of the Cannington data contained in the North West Minerals Province Deposit Atlas.

An atlas that draws together a wealth of information on base metal deposits in North West Queensland will be launched in Mount Isa today as part of a two-day Geological Survey of Queensland workshop.

GSQ minerals geoscience director Helen Degeling said about 50 people were due to join the event in Mount Isa, while about 100 had registered to join sessions online.

Dr Degeling said organisers had decided it was time to go back to a face-to-face event after so many forums were forced to take a digital format during COVID restrictions.

“There’s so much value in getting people in a room and having those unplanned conversations and impromptu discussions that arise when you have 40 or 50 people together sharing ideas and knowledge,” Dr Degeling said.

GSQ minerals geoscience director Helen Degeling.

Among the highlights of the event will be the launch of the North West Minerals Province Deposit Atlas.

Dr Degeling said this huge body of work, focused on the region’s base metals deposits and prospectivity, had been commissioned by GSQ and developed by the University of Queensland’s Sustainable Minerals Institute.

“It’s a compilation of all the data that is publicly available as well as some donated confidential data from companies of all the key deposits in the North West Minerals Province. It’s not only a written document but a 3D dataset compilation,” she said.

“As the years have gone by we’ve been developing this and releasing it piecemeal. It has been so welcomed and so enthusiastically received by companies and industry geologists, and now we’ve finally finished the entire compilation and we’ll have the official launch of that.”

She said the GSQ was now working with Professor Rick Valenta and Dr Paul Gow from the Sustainable Minerals Institute to expand the atlas coverage into the north-eastern region.

Critical minerals are a major focus during the first day of workshop presentations, including guest speakers from the Australian National University, University of Queensland, Geoscience Australia and GSQ.

“Although it is quite a niche market, there is quite a big focus from government on this as part of the resources sector we need to start building up now,” Dr Degeling said.

Among the work to be discussed is a GSQ project looking at rare earth element enrichment in North West Queensland’s phosphorite deposits, including Incitec Pivot’s Phosphate Hill site and Centrex’s Ardmore project.

“They have a really high potential for rare earths, especially in the waste material associated with the higher grade phosphorite” Dr Degeling said.

“We have some really interesting results so far that show a huge amount of promise for that style of deposit to really put Queensland on the map for rare earth potential.”

The GSQ 2020 Mount Isa Technical Workshop is being held at the Mount Isa Ibis hotel, November 25-26.