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Project name: Coompana Drilling
Project leader: Rian Dutch
Project group: Luke Tylkowski
Mark Pawley
Tom Wise
Philip Heath
Ian Hopton
Lyn Broadbridge
Sarlae McAlpine (Geoscience Australia)
Program: Far West Discovery Program


Coompana Drilling Program update

  • First hole has been drilled
  • Samples of diorite (a granite type rock) have been revealed

Next steps:

  • Rock samples will be tested, analysed and assessed to determine:
    • detailed geochemical and mineral compositions
    • geochronology (how old the rocks are)
  • Samples will be stored for further examination by future generation geologists

More information is available from the program news release:


Synopsis

Map showing location of Coompana Drilling projectThe Coompana Province straddles the South Australian–Western Australian border in the state’s far west, located between the western Gawler Craton to the east, the Musgrave Province to the north and the Madura Province (Western Australia) to the west.

There has been little to no exploration that has directly targeted the bedrock of this region, largely because the depth to basement is poorly constrained and the geological characteristics and prospectivity of the region is poorly known.

To investigate the sub-surface geology and more clearly determine the history, structure and mineral prospectivity of the Coompana Province, the Geological Survey of South Australia (GSSA) in partnership with Geoscience Australia (GA) are embarking on a regional precompetitive geoscience research drilling program in the far west of South Australia.

The Coompana Drilling Project will aim to address this lack of knowledge and test geophysically derived geological models by acquiring new basement core samples from the region. Eighteen drillholes are planned as part of this project to provide the mineral exploration industry and research community with new precompetitive data that better defines the geology and prospectivity in this region, thus reducing the risk for explorers.

Background/Aims

The Coompana Province is completely covered by Neoproterozoic to Cenozoic sediments of the Officer, Denman, Bight and Eucla basins and there are no known records of outcropping basement. Drilling records show no more than 12 existing drill holes that intersect basement in the region, affirming the Coompana Province as a true geological and mineral exploration frontier.

Because of these factors the geology and mineral prospectivity of the region is largely unknown.

The Coompana Drilling Project aims to address this lack of knowledge and test geophysically derived geological models by acquiring new basement core samples from the region. Up to 18 holes will be drilled as part of this project focused on obtaining high quality drill core samples from the untested basement units beneath the Nullarbor Plain.

The project aims to:

  • Provide new precompetitive geological, geophysical and geochemical data in an under-explored greenfields area. This new data will be used to map cover thickness and character, identity possible distal footprints of buried mineralisation or mineralised terranes and estimate the depth to target source rocks for various commodities including copper, nickel, gold and base metals.
  • Use the data to improve understanding of the stratigraphy and tectono-thermal history of the region, and the potential for mineralisation in basement rocks. Furthermore, this data may facilitate the assessment of potential copper or uranium-bearing sediments in the overlying cover sequences.
  • Be an exemplar for reducing exploration risk in challenging greenfields regions and provide generic work flows and understanding that will be applicable for exploration and discovery in the far west of South Australia.
  • Enhance the organisational capabilities of the companies involved with the project in drilling as a precompetitive data product for industry and research through exposure to standard drilling technologies as well as innovative technologies where deemed appropriate.
  • Allow use of the data by a broad range of State and Federal government agencies and private companies engaged in natural resources and water management.

The outcome of the Coompana Drilling Project will be to provide the mineral exploration industry and research community with new precompetitive data that more clearly defines the geology and prospectivity in this region, thus reducing the risk for explorers.

When released, the data will be made publicly available to industry as well as research organisations such as universities and cooperative research centres.

This project is being undertaken in partnership with Geoscience Australia (a Division of the Commonwealth Department of Innovation and Science) under the National Collaboration Framework promoting State– Federal precompetitive geoscientific collaborative programs.

Key outcomes

  • New core samples of the largely unknown Coompana Province basement beneath the Nullarbor Plain
  • Example of best practice drilling and stakeholder engagement practices for the Nullarbor region
  • Provide the mineral exploration industry with new precompetitive data that more clearly defines the geology and prospectivity in this region, thus reducing the risk for explorers
  • The new data will be used to map cover thickness and character, identify possible distal footprints of buried mineralisation or mineralised terranes and estimate the depth to target source rocks for various commodities including copper, nickel, gold and base metals.
  • Improved understanding of the stratigraphy and tectono-thermal history of the region, and the potential for mineralisation in basement rocks. Furthermore, this data may facilitate the assessment of potential copper or uranium-bearing sediments in the overlying cover sequences

Schedule for information and product delivery

DeliverableTimeframe
Well logs and completion reports for individual wells - SARIG/Web downloadOngoing during drill program
Interim results presented at Geological Survey of South Australia Discovery Day7 December 2017
New basement geology map of the Coompana Province - SARIG Release March 2018
Explorers guide to the Coompana Province - SARIG/web download March 2018
Industry release of the drilling program results and analysis - industry workshopMarch 2018
Synthesis report on the results of the drilling program and subsequent analysis of core samples - SARIG/web download June 2018