Setting gold standard for ore exploration and research

A University of Tasmania-led geological research team has been granted $500,000 in federal funding to help miners identify and analyse potential high-grade ore deposits on volcanic slopes.

Volcanologist Dr Rebecca Carey heads up this project, which is among the Australian Research Council Linkage grants announced recently by the Federal Minister for Education Dan Tehan. Linkage grants support long-term strategic research collaborations between university researchers and businesses, industry and community organisations.

Volcanic terrains comprise a greater variety of rock types than any other surface environment on Earth.

Dr Carey’s project aims to develop innovative new image analysis techniques which will be used to investigate four highly prospective sites.

“This project should significantly benefit the Australian mining industry by diversifying ore exploration strategies in the Australian crust, and will train the next generation of explorers,” Dr Carey said.

“Its expected outcomes include next-generation automated techniques for analysis of volcanic terrains and the ability to predict where hydrothermal alteration offers the best chance of mineralisation. Both outcomes have global relevance.”

Dr Carey will lead a research team that includes fellow UTAS researchers Emeritus Professor Raymond Cas; the Director of the Centre for Ore Deposit and Earth Sciences (CODES), Professor David Cooke; Associate Professor Sebastien Meffre and Associate Professor Shaun Barker.

Partners in this project are two multinational gold producers, OceanaGold and Evolution Mining; the Geological Survey of NSW, the Department of State Growth, and the Universities of Auckland and Strasbourg in France.

Dr Carey’s research into the dynamic processes of submarine volcanic eruptions has been recognised on the national stage at the Australian Academy of Science’s 2020 honorific awards. On March 3, 2020, she was awarded the Dorothy Hill Medal in recognition of her exceptional contributions to the worldwide earth sciences community.

Further reading:

Research to Reality:

Dynamics of powerful submarine volcanic eruptions explored

Science on the “pulse” of volcano eruptions

Image: Dr Rebecca Carey with a piece of pumice, a type of extrusive volcanic rock, washed up on a Tasmanian beach. Credit: Matthew Newton.

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