Deep Exploration Technologies CRC for new and deeper frontiers
The newly founded Deep Exploration Technologies Cooperative Research Centre (DET CRC) was the topic of a presentation given by Lindsay Gilligan to the Geological Survey of New South Wales (GSNSW) at the Maitland Office in September. Lindsay Gilligan is the Director overseeing government agencies on the board of DET CRC. He gave an overview of the status of worldwide mineral exploration and the CRC's role in dealing with the critical issues facing exploration over the coming decade.
Mineral exploration worldwide is experiencing seriously diminishing returns for the exploration dollar as the number of surface ore deposits declines and exploration companies turn to deeper targets. The industry-driven DET CRC is committed to address this issue by providing new technologies and more effective methods for exploring the depths of vast areas of buried prospective basement.
DET CRC is a not-for-profit company with an independent, skills-based board and a representative Science Steering Committee. It comprises participants from major private companies and research institutions, and supplier affiliates from industry and government. DET CRC combines the skills and experience of miners, research providers and service companies. It will manage an 8 year program funded by $28 million from the Commonwealth Government, $21 million cash (and $12 million in-kind support) from industry participants, and $50 million in-kind from its research providers.
DET CRC is focussed on developing technologies. The three main program areas are Drilling Technologies; Logging and Sensing; and Deep Targeting. The headquarters of DET CRC is embedded with industry at Boart Longyear, Burbridge Business Park near Adelaide Airport. A drilling research site is located at Brukunga in S.A. where the present focus is on delivering coiled tubing or flexible hose system for the Next Generation Drilling Technologies project.
The Geological Survey of New South Wales is an affiliate and some of its projects complement the overarching mission of the DET CRC in "uncovering the future". The 3D modelling and geophysical-geological interpretation maps are already progressing towards this objective. The work on NSW mineral systems integrated with the results of scanning drillcore using the Hylogger&trade technology also lends itself to some of the DET CRC's sensing program directions.
New South Wales has a number of areas where new deep exploration technologies would have a great impact. The Thomson Orogen has potential for mineralisation at depth, and the Koonenberry Belt and Curnamona Province are prospective because of their proximity to the Broken Hill deposit. There are a large number of mineral explorers in the greater Cobar area and yet the rocks are notoriously difficult to drill. More effective deep exploration technologies would make these areas more attractive to overseas investment and help develop the far west of the state.