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The challenge

Finding gold in brownfield regions

Although Australia is a gold-rich continent, finding new gold deposits remains a significant challenge for all mineral explorers.

Exploration is expensive.

Finding new and reliable ways to home in on prospective targets is crucial for small companies like Classic Minerals to cost-effectively manage exploration efforts.

Classic Minerals is searching for their next gold deposit deep in the largely explored Yilgarn Craton region of Western Australia.

They were searching to prioritise their exploration areas and refine targets across a large area, reducing the time and expense of exploration activities as well as the extent of ground disturbing activities required.

Their Forrestania Gold Projects span 450km2; a large area in which weathering and other geological processes constantly change the landscape.

Over time the original surface is altered as rain and wind alter and wash away the top layers of soil, replacing them with material from other locations and obscuring any evidence of what lies below.

Our response

Integrating geological and landscape data

Integrating multidisciplinary knowledge from our geology, geochemistry, drilling and landscape evolution experts, we developed an innovative exploration technique which can be used to refine and prioritise exploration areas.

This technique utilises 'Pattern Similarity Analysis'; a statistical data analysis technique to compare areas that had been well characterised and mapped with those that are unexplored.

Our researchers found the presence of gold anomalies were linked to specific landscapes and landform features assumed to be a result of recent (on geological timescales) movements and deformations of the Earth's crust, known as neotectonics activity.

The results

Identifying targets for further exploration.

Through Pattern Similarity Analysis, we were able to link known orebodies with surface signatures and define new areas of interest for further exploration.

Three areas were recommended to Classic Minerals for further investigation. This has allowed them to significantly reduce the time, resources and ground disturbance typically involved in gold exploration activities.

Since then, Classic Minerals has completed surface geochemical sampling of one of the three areas. They detected a significant concentration of gold on the surface and are continuing their investigation by drilling.

This project with Classic Minerals was supported by funding from Innovation Connections.

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