The East Tennant area of the Northern Territory is set to become one of Australia’s most exciting exploration frontiers, according to the first release of data from the MinEx CRC National Drilling Initiative (NDI) campaign.
The preliminary data, which is from 10 drill holes MinEx has drilled on the Barkly Tableland east of Tennant Creek, provides new insight into the mineral potential of this previously underexplored region of northern Australia.
The preliminary data release includes core and chip photography, geological logs, portable XRF and Minalyze geochemistry, HyLogger spectral data and multi-tool wireline geophysics from the 4000 metres of drilling completed during the East Tennant program.
The drill holes were designed to test the potential of basement rocks in the East Tennant area to host gold and copper-rich mineral deposits similar to those in the Tennant Creek mineral field.
The basement rocks intersected by drilling include felsic intrusive and extrusive rocks, deformed siliciclastic and carbonate metasedimentary rocks and a previously unidentified basin containing coarse clastic sedimentary rocks.
The metasedimentary rocks are comparable to the Paleoproterozoic Warramunga Formation, which hosts mineralisation in the Tennant Creek field, and contain mineralogical and geochemical evidence of comparable mineral systems.
MinEx CRC, along with collaborators at Geoscience Australia and the Northern Territory Geological Survey, will conduct in-depth analyses of the drill samples in 2021 (including petrology, geochronology, thermochronology isotope systematics) to provide a detailed understanding of the East Tennant geology and its potential to host mineral deposits.
Dr Andrew Heap, Chief of the Minerals, Energy and Groundwater Division at Geoscience Australia said the results highlighted exciting new opportunities for the resources industry in the Northern Territory.
“Drilling has identified rocks of the right age to host mineralisation and has uncovered evidence for key mineralising processes, such as the presence of major structures, hydrothermal alteration, and base metal sulphides,” Dr Heap shared.
“This shows the East Tennant area is an exciting frontier area for mineral exploration in Australia.”
Dr Ian Scrimgeour, Executive Director of the NT Geological Survey, said the release of the first NDI drilling data is expected to generate industry interest in the area.
“We expect the release of the first NDI drilling data to stimulate further industry interest in the Barkly region, which is rapidly emerging as one of Australia’s most exciting exploration frontiers,” Dr Scrimgeour commented.
“As part of NTGS’s contribution to the program, spectral data and high-resolution imagery of the drillcore has been acquired through the NTGS Hylogger instrument and is now available through our GEMIS web delivery system.”
MinEx CRC Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Bailey, said in addition to using conventional drilling methods, the NDI is deploying innovative mineral exploration technologies currently being developed by MinEx CRC and sponsoring organisations.
“These technologies will reduce the program’s environmental footprint, improve safety and deliver more extensive information at a lower cost. The NDI also provides a testing platform to refine and optimise these technologies, bringing them closer to market.”
Core samples from the Barkly Tableland east of Tennant Creek will be available to view at the Annual Geoscience Exploration Seminar (AGES) Conference, being held from Tuesday 20 April to Thursday 22 April 2021 in Alice Springs.
The data can be accessed through the Exploring for the Future Data Discovery Portal and the MinEx CRC NDI Portal here.
About MinEx CRC
MinEx CRC is the world’s largest mineral exploration collaboration bringing together Industry, Government and Research Organisations with $220 million of funding comprising:
- $50M cash from the CRC Program;
- $41M cash from geological surveys and industry;
- $51M non-staff in-kind; and
- $78M or 311FTE staff in-kind.