The Asia Miner

SEP-OCT 2014

The ASIA Miner - Reporting Important Issues to Mining Companies in the Asia Pacific Region

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Page 58 of 91

September/October 2014 | ASIA Miner | 57 The Maia Mapper, being developed by and housed at CSIRO, will be a landmark instrument that does not currently exist anywhere else. The new NanoSIMS, at UWA, will signifcantly improve the capacity to determine mineral ore deposits and increase processing productivity. The Maia Mapper is a high-throughput detector system which can be used to produce high-defnition images with microscopic detail in re- al-time. Combining rapid analysis with high-resolution, it will be able to map elemental variations in geological samples. "The NanoSIMS and Geoscience Atom Probe are expected to arrive in 2015 and the construction of Maia Mapper is expected to be com- pleted by 2016," Graeme Hunt says. "The ARCF's concentration of advanced instruments and expertise will establish it as a global hub for 'metre-to-atomic scale' analyses." Combined with four-dimensional data integration provided by the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, the ARCF will be a ground-breaking research facility that will provide a resource focus unmatched anywhere in the world. For industry this will mean more effcient mining and higher production yields. The Distal Footprints project aims to revolutionize the way we search for resources in Australia with a team of the nation's best scientists charged with improving the diminishing success rates of minerals exploration. Focusing on the potentially lucrative Capricorn region of Western Australia, the $16 million project seeks to develop a new way of discovering mineral deposits in the area. "The Distal Footprints project is about addressing the fundamental limitations to mineral discovery," Graeme Hunt says. "Although there are potentially huge mineral deposits under its thick surface, the Capricorn region is a poorly explored and poorly understood area. By bringing together some of the best scientists in Australia, the project will tackle some of the technical risks and help industry to unlock this vast poten- tial resource. "Searching for underground resources is complex and expensive. Australia in particular has a unique geological make-up with a blanket of cover built up over millions of years making it diffcult to detect depos- its and therefore develop new mine sites. The project will deliver new data, interpretations, understanding and technologies to help discover mineral wealth in regions that until now have been diffcult to explore." He says, "This ground-breaking approach to exploration aims to ex- pand the search area used to identify the markers that point to large mineral deposits. We will be able to arm industry with the information they need to detect if resources are nearby, and in what direction and how deep they are. "Distal Footprints are signatures we might expect to fnd around an ore deposit from distances of up to several tens of kilometres." Using isotopic and trace element composition – at regional-scales on bulk samples and at micro-mscale in individual minerals – the proj- ect will determine the distal patterns and the minerals that host them, through advanced micro- to nano-scale analyses using NRSP's ad- vanced infrastructure. The new capability will increase exploration certainty in Australia mak- ing it an attractive destination for investment, ensuring that the resourc- es sector remains globally competitive. The project is supported by funding awarded under the SIEF, as well as contributions from the WA Government's Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia, industry, the Geological Survey of Western Aus- tralia and the NRSP foundation research partners. "Ensuring that Australia's resources sector can compete interna- tionally is of paramount importance to the industry and the economy," Graeme Hunt says. By supporting new research and technology development as well as ensuring that ongoing research priorities are based on real and current industry challenges, the NRSP is helping to tip the scales in the right direction. To fnd out more about how to get involved, please email About Graeme Hunt Graeme Hunt has almost 40 years' experience in the metals, mining and bulk transport sectors, including years with BHP Billiton where he held po- sitions including president iron ore, president aluminium and president ura- nium. He was also managing director and CEO of Lihir Gold. He has been president of the Australian Uranium Association, The Aus- tralian Mining and Metals Association and the International Manganese In- stitute. He has served as deputy chair of the Minerals Council of Australia and as a director of the International Aluminium Institute and the World Energy Council Australia. He is currently a director of AGL Energy.

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