SA's $32M resource for explorers

SOUTH Australia has opened a $32.2 million drill core reference library holding 130 years of samples.
SA's $32M resource for explorers SA's $32M resource for explorers SA's $32M resource for explorers SA's $32M resource for explorers SA's $32M resource for explorers

South Australia's new drill core and data library in Tonsley.

Anthony Barich

SA Chamber of Mines and Energy CEO Jason Kuchel told ICN sister publication Energy News:

“It also provides enough space for more than 20 years of drill core, and has a room which enables people to explore the graphical data in 3D so you can visualise what’s going on. This can help geologists and geophysicists.

“It also has meeting rooms which enables the ability to bring in investors or large groups from the company or joint venture partners to look at past drill core and data and reports from previous companies.”

The library, which unites samples previously stored across four separate facilities across the state, holds 7.5 million metres of drill core samples and has the capacity to display up to 2km of cores for inspection on a series of automated conveyor belts in the main viewing area at any one time.

The samples are now kept in a massive storage warehouse featuring eight seemingly never-ending aisles that reach to the high ceiling.

Hi-tech forklifts are used to fetch requested core samples to be brought to the main viewing area for inspection.

Hundreds of European-style wooden storage crates were specially manufactured to sit the core boxes on by workers with a disability at the nearby Bedford Phoenix factory.

The library is located in the Tonsley precinct, the site of a former Mitsubishi car manufacturing plant, which has now been converted into a modern hub for high-value industries.

The 3D viewing room Kuchel referred to uses virtual reality technology to give geologists a worms-eye view of geology and deposits under the earth’s surface.

“When geologists drill a hole they will interpret it at the time so the knowledge is based upon that moment and as knowledge increases some of that historical drilling can be re-addressed and reinterpreted … discoveries are going to be made in this building,” SACOME president Terry Burgess said.

“It’s a huge storage of information that’s waiting to be tapped – there’s a discovery waiting to happen in the core library somewhere and it’s up to the geologists to work out what that is. It could be that there’s something that’s been drilled in the past with a core in the library that’s going to end up with a mine going forward because of a different interpretation.

“These analytical techniques are being developed all the time and like the 3D work that’s been done, I think we are going to get a lot of new ideas and new technologies that weren’t available before.”

Exploration companies in SA are required by legislation to provide the Department of State Development with representative samples of any core and cuttings taken during tenure.

Burgess also said he has had some discussions with companies that have expressed interest in relocating to Tonsley due to the proximity to the core library and they have technologies that they want to use on core that may be introduced in the future.

SA premier Jay Weatherill said drill core samples were instrumental in major mineral and energy discoveries in the state such as Olympic Dam and the Cooper Basin more than 40 years ago.

“It is a one-stop-shop for industry and geoscience explorers seeking easy access to the state’s inventory of drill cores generated from historical and recent exploration efforts, enabling companies to better target potential discoveries,” he said.

“It will boost exploration opportunities, unlocking the potential of South Australia’s resource wealth for many decades.”

“These projects continue to reap economic rewards to this day through exports, jobs for more than 3000 people, and ongoing royalty income,” he said.

Partners in the build included Aurecon, Thomson Rossi, Hansen Yuncken, Bianco Precast, Boral and Adelaide Brighton Cement and the specialist drill core viewing tables were manufactured by Southeast Conveyors.

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