Australian Official Unveils Geoscience Data Program

Australian Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane on Monday announced mineral exploration investment is now a safer bet thanks to a new program for digital pre-competitive geoscience data.

"The Australian Government will spend $59 million over five years to reduce exploration risk and underpin discovery of the next generation of major mineral and energy resources," Macfarlane said.

"The program will map regions across the continent from the air and on the ground, using radiometric, magnetic, electromagnetic, seismic and other data collection methods.

"This is an exciting program which will see Australia gaining new resources data in under-explored regions.

"It will be used to develop a new understanding of the three-dimensional geology of Australia and its mineral, petroleum and geothermal resource potential."

An important component is the development of new information management technology to facilitate storage and global online access.

This will be developed in partnership with the State and Northern Territory geological surveys, CSIRO, and international geological surveys including those from Canada and the US.

Macfarlane made the announcement at the APEC Mining Ministers' Meeting in Perth, noting the program involved technical collaboration and will enhance information transfer within the APEC region.

"Minerals exploration is an investment in knowledge about the location, size, quality and value of mineral deposits and is therefore a high-risk activity," he said. "Geoscience Australia is reducing the risk and costs to explorers by providing, online, reliable information which is critical to business ventures in the mining sector."