Mining News

Australia plans to boost mineral discovery with new drill core research lab

Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, opened this week its Geoscience Drill Core Research Laboratory in Perth, a A$7-million facility that hosts a suite of advanced mineral characterization equipment specialized for drill core analysis and research.

According to the agency, the goal behind the new lab is to give researchers and industry the opportunity to study drill core samples at multiple scales.

“Exploration and mining companies commit large investment in drill core operations to be able to peer beneath the surface to understand ore bodies and uncover new underground resources,” Rob Hough, acting director of CSIRO mineral resources, said in a media statement. “This unique facility is able to maximise data from drill core samples, enabling characterisation across scales; from big picture analyses on kilometres of drill core through to the elemental composition of rock on a microscale.”

Scientists and companies accessing the lab will be able to uncover geochemical and hyperspectral data to show elemental and mineralogical abundance against stratigraphic depth

In detail, scientists and companies accessing the laboratory will be able to uncover geochemical and hyperspectral data to show elemental and mineralogical abundance against stratigraphic depth, as well as spectral data to understand mineralization and alteration relationships; data to determine stratigraphic units and boundaries, for example, facies, sedimentary succession and alteration mineralogy; data to assist with seismic stratigraphy; and sediment chemistry and accumulation rates.

They will also be able to perform rapid high-resolution core photography and core quality assessment.

In Hough’s view, extracting more data from drill core analyses will help unlock Australian critical minerals by providing information that drives key decisions for the discovery, mining, and processing of such resources.

The lab is also envisioned as a testbed platform where students, researchers and industry partners can connect and develop new workflows to enhance success and productivity in mineral exploration and mining.

“Faster analysis of drill cores by a range of cutting-edge techniques in this facility will speed up the development and testing of new ideas about how mineral systems develop, and help our leading researchers identify new clues to recognising undiscovered ore bodies,” Nicole Roocke, CEO of the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia, said in the press brief.

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