Blog icon

Australia supplies many of the world's commodities including rare earth elements, such as lithium, that are used extensively in modern technology. These minerals have only in recent years been the focus of mining and exploration companies.

However, lack of consistency between mineral deposit maps made it challenging to uncover new potential mining prospects.

Revealing mineral deposits

From a ten-year archive of raw advanced spaceborne thermal emission and reflection (ASTER) data for Australia, collected by NASA's Terra satellite and the Japanese Government's Japan Space Systems, we created a continent-wide suite of mineral maps.

The world-first suite of mineral maps details the mineral composition of the surface of the continent.​

This involved developing the methods and software tools to the process satellite imagery to remove instrumental, atmospheric effects and seasonal features, sampling to validate the final products, and developing a delivery mechanism so that the data products are accessible to everyone.

The resulting maps show information about rock and soil mineral components, allowing users to view details from thousands of kilometres wide to just a few kilometres wide.

The ASTER mineral maps are already changing the way that geoscientists look for mineral deposits by providing more accurate and detailed information than ever before.

In the first three months following their release in 2012, the maps were downloaded 40,000 times, and have become the default base map for mineral exploration in Australia.

To achieve this, we collaborated with Japan Space Systems, AIST, NASA, USGS, Geoscience Australia, Australian state and territory geological surveys, AuScope, Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, NCI and JSS.

The ASTER Geoscience Maps of Australia were made possible by funding through the WA Exploration Incentive Scheme and Western Australian Centre of Excellence for 3D Mineral Mapping.

Related to this page

Contact us

Find out how we can help you and your business. Get in touch using the form below and our experts will get in contact soon!

CSIRO will handle your personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and our Privacy Policy.

First name must be filled in

Surname must be filled in

I am representing *

Please choose an option

Please provide a subject for the enquriy

0 / 100

We'll need to know what you want to contact us about so we can give you an answer

0 / 1900

You shouldn't be able to see this field. Please try again and leave the field blank.