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Mineral Exploration in South Australia 2017 : Commodity Report
The state’s significant copper inventory continues to deliver benefits with OZ Minerals $916 million Carrapateena copper–gold deposit under construction, and completion of BHP’s $350 million smelter upgrade at the Olympic Dam mine – one of the world’s five largest copper deposits – paving the way for increased mineral production and securing the benefits for South Australians. While copper attracted the largest share of exploration investment in 2017, there were significant discoveries and resource upgrades reported across all commodities, with standout results in gold, uranium and graphite. Overall results were impressive given the low annual expenditure of $47.6 million and this reflects the state’s high mineral prospectivity, PACE exploration programs and the efficiency of mineral exploration companies who continue to make discoveries – doing more with less.
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Gold in South Australia (2016 Historical Reference Only)
Gold mineralisation is widespread and occurs in most geological provinces of South Australia. Gold in South Australia is obtained from two types of primary deposits - quartz veins (reefs or lodges) and deposits worked mainly for base metals from which gold is obtained as a by-product, e.g. Iron Oxide Copper Gold (IOCG). Secondary deposits, are derived by physical erosion or solution in groundwater from primary deposits and redeposited near the source. The information contained in this presentation has been compiled by the Department of State Development (DSD) and originates from a variety of sources. Although all reasonable care has been taken in the preparation and compilation of the information, it has been provided in good faith for general information only and does not purport to be professional advice. No warranty, express or implied, is given as to the completeness, correctness, accuracy, reliability or currency of the materials.
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Copper in South Australia (2016 Historical Reference Only)
Many of the deposits in South Australia’s copper provinces are covered by a sequence of younger rocks that have effectively hidden many large copper deposits from the early explorers. The information contained in this presentation has been compiled by the Department of State Development (DSD) and originates from a variety of sources. Although all reasonable care has been taken in the preparation and compilation of the information, it has been provided in good faith for general information only and does not purport to be professional advice. No warranty, express or implied, is given as to the completeness, correctness, accuracy, reliability or currency of the materials.
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Iron Ore in South Australia (2016 Historical Reference Only)
There are existing operational mines in the Middleback Ranges. There are a further two mines approved and twenty developing projects across the State with identified resources of over fourteen billion tonnes. The information contained in this presentation has been compiled by the Department of State Development (DSD) and originates from a variety of sources. Although all reasonable care has been taken in the preparation and compilation of the information, it has been provided in good faith for general information only and does not purport to be professional advice. No warranty, express or implied, is given as to the completeness, correctness, accuracy, reliability or currency of the materials.
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Key iron ore opportunities in South Australia (2016 Historical Reference Only)
A 2016 summary of iron ore opportunities within South Australia. Each mine, deposit or prospect has detailed resource information and a snap-shot of the associated companies at that time. The information contained in this presentation has been compiled by the Department of State Development (DSD) and originates from a variety of sources. Although all reasonable care has been taken in the preparation and compilation of the information, it has been provided in good faith for general information only and does not purport to be professional advice. No warranty, express or implied, is given as to the completeness, correctness, accuracy, reliability or currency of the materials.
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Uranium in South Australia (2016 Historical Reference Only)
ustralia is a globally recognised, low-risk uranium mining jurisdiction with a streamlined regulatory framework aimed to facilitate increased investment and participation in mining projects. Olympic Dam is the world’s largest uranium deposit with 2.5 Mt of U3O8. The information contained in this presentation has been compiled by the Department of State Development (DSD) and originates from a variety of sources. Although all reasonable care has been taken in the preparation and compilation of the information, it has been provided in good faith for general information only and does not purport to be professional advice. No warranty, express or implied, is given as to the completeness, correctness, accuracy, reliability or currency of the materials.
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Graphite in South Australia (2016 Historical Reference Only)
South Australia is home to 61% of Australia’s JORC graphite resources with 1.8 million tonnes of contained graphite. Due to South Australia’s highly prospective geology there are substantial opportunities to discover further deposits. South Australia is home to the highly prospective Eyre Peninsula graphite region, which contains Australia’s only operating graphite mine. The information contained in this presentation has been compiled by the Department of State Development (DSD) and originates from a variety of sources. Although all reasonable care has been taken in the preparation and compilation of the information, it has been provided in good faith for general information only and does not purport to be professional advice. No warranty, express or implied, is given as to the completeness, correctness, accuracy, reliability or currency of the materials.
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Petroleum in South Australia (2016 Historical Reference Only)
The right geology, together with policy innovation and excellent investment frameworks are reasons why South Australia is leading oil and gas transformation in Australia. South Australia is widely regarded as having one of the country’s most effective upstream petroleum frameworks. It offers a supportive investment framework, a trusted regulatory framework, benefits from pre-existing infrastructure, and is a jurisdiction focused on increasing capabilities and productivity. This is reflected in results of the 9th Fraser Institute Global Petroleum Survey, released in December 2015 which rated SA as the best performing jurisdiction in the nation. For the first time, SA topped the world for Fiscal Terms – over the last 2 years Petroleum Retention License fees have been reduced by 25% and it is intended to further decrease these fees in future. South Australia is the first Australian jurisdiction to deliver a comprehensive approach to developing its vast gas resource plays. The Roadmap for unconventional gas projects in South Australia was released in December 2012 and is designed to inform industry strategies, government policies, and regulations to facilitate oil and gas projects in ways that SA communities welcome. Work to implement the Roadmap continues through the Roundtable for Oil and Gas and its 8 working groups established to address the most critical recommendations. The Cooper Basin remains the nation’s largest onshore oil and gas producer and record levels of drilling occurred in 2013-14. While the current low oil price has impacted company exploration programs, the western flank oil play trend and a variety of gas plays (conventional, as well as shale gas, basin-centred gas and deep gas from coal source rock), continue to be explored and developed. No warranty, express or implied, is given as to the completeness, correctness, accuracy, reliability or currency of the materials.
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The South Australian Resources Sector (2016 Historical Reference Only)
Gold: Gold mineralisation is widespread in South Australia and occurs in most geological provinces Copper: Many of the deposits in South Australia’s copper provinces are covered by a sequence of younger rocks that have effectively hidden many large copper deposits from the early explorers Uranium: South Australia has an unusually high incidence of ‘felsic magmatic’ rocks. These provide an excellent naturally elevated source for uranium Iron Ore: 14 billion tonnes in identified resources The information contained in this presentation has been compiled by the Department of State Development (DSD) and originates from a variety of sources. Although all reasonable care has been taken in the preparation and compilation of the information, it has been provided in good faith for general information only and does not purport to be professional advice. No warranty, express or implied, is given as to the completeness, correctness, accuracy, reliability or currency of the materials.
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Commodity Review, 001 - Lead-zinc in South Australia (Historical Reference Only)
Lead- Zinc mineralisation is widespread throughout SA in a variety of geological environments. Over 180 prospects have developed been developed and a further 100 occurrences have been recorded. Although the world's largest lead smelting and refining complex was established at Port Pirie to treat lead-zinc-silver concentrates from Broken Hill, a major lead-zinc-silver resource has yet to be developed within the State. Exploration has been limited and large areas of concealed basement are virtually untested. The MESA initiative of producing high-quality aeromagnetic data over key areas of the State is providing exciting new targets in poorly exposed areas, and the prospects of locating a major lead-zinc-silver deposit in the near future have been enhanced. 
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Commodity Review, 002 - Gypsum in South Australia (Historical Reference Only)
Almost 75% of Australia's gypsum is produced in South Australia. In 1993, 1.27 million tonnes with an ex-mine value of $2.6million were mined in the State; 73% of this was shipped to eastern Australia where almost all gypsum used in plaster and cement manufacture is of South Australian origin. Overseas exports, principally to Japan, New Zealand and the USA totalled 200,000t with an FOB value of $3 million. The principal gypsum sources for cement and plaster manufacture are Lake MacDonnell on Eyre Peninsula, Blanchetown in the Riverland, and Spider Lake, Marion Bay and Lake Fowler on Yorke Peninsula. Twenty-six agricultural gypsum deposits supply 60,000 tpa (1993) to market gardeners, orchardists, mushroom growers, garden centres, fertiliser distributors and local farmers, mainly within SA and Victoria; small quantities are also shipped to growers in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. The Cooke Plains and Lake Everard deposits are the biggest producers of agricultural gypsum.
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Commodity Review, 003 - Kaolin in South Australia (Historical Reference Only)
For almost 100 years, South Australia has been a supplier of speciality kaolin products, the most significant being kaolinised sillimanite from the Williamstown deposits in the Mount Lofty Ranges. Deeply weathered crystalline basement over large areas of the State provide many geological settings suitable for the formation of high-grade orebodies. Recent exploration on southern and northwestern Eyre Peninsula has confirmed the presence of high brightness kaolin which meets specifications for the top end of kaolin markets. Although grades are variable, these areas have excellent potential for ultimate development of export-quality kaolin. MESA in conjunction with CSIRO, is assisting explorers on Eyre Peninsula and has developed new analytical techniques aimed at rapid assessment of kaolin characteristics that may affect market suitability.
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Commodity Review, 004 - Heavy minerals in South Australia. (Historical Reference Only)
Discovery of WIM 150 deposit near Horsham, Victoria, by CRA Exploration in 1984 was a major stimulus for heavy-mineral exploration within the South Australian portion of the Murray Basin. The Mindarie prospect delineated by Aberfoyle Resources Ltd was the most promising found, with three lenses of heavy minerals discovered over a strike length of 12-20km. Extensive coastal dune systems within the Eucla Basin have also been a major exploration target, with mineralisation present in the Middle Eocene Hampton Sandstone and Ooldea Sand. The Immarna prospect was delineated by the Ceduna Joint Venture, but depth to mineralisation and location are limiting factors for a profitable mining operation. Potential still exists within both basins.
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Commodity Review, 005 - Magnesite in South Australia (Historical Reference Only)
South Australia has extensive deposits of magnesite, from which there has been only limited production. Magnesite interbeds are common in the Skillogalee Dolomite, which extends from near Adelaide in the south to Marree in the north. These interbeds are best developed in the northern part of the Adelaide Geosyncline between Copley and Marree, where Commercial Minerals Ltd holds mining tenements over some of the deposits. Magnesite is interbedded with dolomite, and deposits are amenable to selective mining techniques. The principal impurity is detrital quartz, and investigation of benefication techniques is required.
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Commodity Review, 006 - Non-metallic resources in South Australia (Historical Reference Only)
South Australia has a long history of production of a diverse range of industrial minerals. Specialty kaolin products have been mined for 100 years from deposits near Adelaide, but the current exploration focus is on areas of deeply weathered granitic terrain on Eyre Peninsula which have been shown to have potential for ceramic and paper-coating kaolins. About 75% of Australia’s gypsum production comes from SA, mainly from coastal salina deposits on Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas. Australia’s soda ash supplies are produced in a Solvay plant at Osborne, suburban Adelaide, using locally sourced limestone and solar salt. SA produces over 1 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of industrial-grade dolomite for metallurgical and glass flux, and is also a significant producer of limestone, barite, and cosmetic and industrial-grade talc. Palygorskite, wollastonite, and micaceous haematite deposits are under investigation, and graphite production is planned to recommence at the Uley Mine when world prices improve. Coober Pedy in the Far North is the centre of a thriving opal industry, and world class nephrite jade deposits are mined at Cowell on Eyre Peninsula. SA is considered prospective for diamonds, as lamprophyric rocks are widespread, and there are numerous recorded diamond occurrences.
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Commodity Review, 007 - Talc in South Australia. (Historical Reference Only)
South Australia has produced about 600,000t of talc from deposits in the Mount Lofty Ranges, Flinders Ranges and Eyre Peninsula since 1901. The largest and highest grade deposits are at Mount Fitton in the northern Flinders Ranges, where production from over 40 individual deposits has totalled 380,000t since 1945. There is now only limited production from the lower grade Mount Lofty Ranges deposits at Gumeracha, but laboratory studies have shown the mixture of talc and associated albite to be suitable for ceramic purposes. The Tumby Bay deposits are no longer worked, but there is potential for additional discoveries in the region.
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Commodity Review, 008 - Iron ore in South Australia
The iron-rich rocks of South Australia have been classified into six deposit types - residual, chemical sedimentary iron formations, Fe-skarn and, of lesser significance, hydrothermal, clastic and magmatic. Production has been overwhelmingly from high grade residual deposits located in the Middleback Range, northern Eyre Peninsula. These deposits are of national historical significance, and were the main source of ore for Australia's iron and steel industry from 1915 to the early 1960s. Production from all other deposit types has been relatively insignificant in terms of mined tonnages and contribution to the State's economy. Low grade sedimentary iron formations and Fe-skarn deposits form a neglected iron ore resource of State and national significance. The residual deposits in the Middleback Range are of Palaeoproterozoic age, with the larger deposits at Iron Monarch, the Iron Baron mining area and Iron Duke having collectively yielded more than 200 million tonnes (Mt) in 85 years of mining. Current production of 2.7 Mt/year is from Iron Duke and neighbouring deposits at Iron Duchess and Iron Knight. The total remaining proven reserves are 26 Mt. Recent discoveries of similar Palaeoproterozoic haematite deposits occur under a thin cover of younger sediments at the Wilgerup prospect (central Eyre Peninsula) and Buzzard prospect (northern Gawler Craton). From 1886 to 1915, 850 000 t of ore were mined for use as flux in the smelting of base metals from many small scattered residual deposits. The most important was Iron Knob in the Middleback Range; minor deposits were mined in the Adelaide Geosyncline and Olary Province. Most mines closed down at the turn of the century when production became centred on the Iron Knob mine. Minor production was recorded from small residual limonite-goethite deposits which were worked for ochre used as pigment. BIF of Palaeoproterozoic age is the most significant low grade iron ore resource in the State, particularly within stratigraphic units of the Middleback Subgroup and Wilgena Hill Jaspilite. The best prospects are the Middleback Range, Hawks Nest and Giffen Well. Exploration at Hawks Nest initially outlined near-surface, magnetite-rich BIF with inferred and indicated resources of 600 Mt to 130 m depth, grading 36% Fe. Resources at Giffen Well are estimated at 240 Mt grading 36% Fe. There appears to be potential for significant resources of magnetite-rich Palaeoproterozoic BIF in the Mount Woods Inlier. Exploration is minimal, and the BIF is not correlated with any certainty with Palaeoproterozoic BIF from other regions. Thickness estimates vary from a few metres to a maximum of 90 m, and metamorphic grade is described as moderate to high. Aeromagnetic images indicate several prospects with strike lengths of tens of kilometres. Palaeoproterozoic BIF is widespread in the Olary Domain where it occurs at various stratigraphic levels in Willyama Supergroup rocks as thin, discontinuous horizons. Its potential appears to be limited by poor grades and the small size of the prospects. Other occurrences of BIF on northern Yorke Peninsula, the Peake and Denison Ranges, and the Musgrave Block appear to have limited potential. Large masses of Fe-rich skarns have been discovered along the eastern margin of the Gawler Craton, with prospects identified within the Mount Woods Inlier, then southwards for 650-700 km, extending through the Andamooka Magnetic Complex and into the Moonta-Wallaroo district. The contained iron within this deposit type is enormous; the potential for mineable resources of low grade ore appears to be significant for both haematite-rich and magnetite-rich varieties. This deposit type is commonly polymetallic, with potential for economic levels of other metals; the best example is the Olympic Dam deposit, with an estimated 2 billion tonnes of contained iron.
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