Queensland Exploration Council chairman Geoff Dickie told MiningNews.net that the long-term geology of Queensland’s west meant exploration in the area was previously too expensive, too complex and not considered viable.
Now that exploration technology has advanced with the ability to drill to deeper levels, explorers are heading back to the west searching for the potential buried the beneath 100m thick layer of oxidisation.
“Developments in radiometrics, mapping and magnetic surveying all open up the geology and prospectivity of Queensland’s surface covering,” Dickie said.
“It enables companies to look below the weathering and sedimentary covering that has constrained a lot of the exploration in the past.
“A vast number of discoveries have been in northwest Queensland.”
The demand for rare earths and scandium has pushed explorers to the west, as it’s known for its deep deposits hosting diverse mineralisation.
Additionally, the falling coal prices and increasing royalties for coal players is placing the exploration focus on different minerals.
“All of these aspects and the new approaches mean companies are looking for new commodities in new areas of Queensland,” Dickie said.
“These are all areas where people have worked in the past, however people are going back with testing new ideas in slightly different areas.”
In the interim, the need to encourage more explorers to target new discoveries is being hindered by a few challenges.
“The priorities that we see facing exploration in Queensland are the availability of capital to build investment, access to land, timing of permits being granted and skills and equipment availability,” Dickie said.
The Queensland Exploration Council was established in late 2010, under the Queensland Resources Council, to raise the profile of resources exploration with investors, government agencies and the general community.
It is actively working with explorers to put their concerns forward to government in order to drive the next stages of unleashing Queensland’s mineral potential.
The QEC is seeking to secure funding for geology scholarships and looking for a way to bring new techniques in and new developments in exploration technology to the broader exploration community.
It has also launched the Resources Rising digital network , which has 70,000 subscribers, to showcase profiles of Queensland explorers and condense relevant information into one website.