New exploration marker identified for mineral systems in Western Australia
Researchers at Curtin University have developed new techniques using the long-lived mineral rutile to help guide explorers to undiscovered ore deposits in ancient rocks in Western Australia.
Working with the state-of-the-art mass spectrometry facilities at Curtin University’s John de Laeter Center, Professor Neal McNaughton and his research team have developed new methods to prepare and analyze individual rutile crystals to reveal the secrets hidden in their chemical makeup that could help guide geologists in the search for undiscovered ore deposits.
“Minerals like rutile are very resistant to chemical and physical degradation,” explained Professor McNaughton.
“Individual rutile crystals can survive unchanged even when the rocks that once housed them have been weathered over time – like tiny time capsules preserving a record of the now extinct geology.”
Samples analyzed in the Curtin study showed a clear chemical distinction between rutile associated with richly endowed gold ore systems and rutile from unmineralized rocks. This discovery highlights the potential value of rutile exploration in the ancient landscape of Western Australia.
“Using our new approach to analyze rutile in the early stages of mineral exploration, geologists could quickly establish whether or not local rocks may or may not have undergone a mineralization event,” said Professor McNaugton.
Releasing the research report outlining Professor McNaughton’s findings, MRIWA CEO Nicole Roocke said: “This research offers mineral exploration companies in Western Australia a new way to quickly refine their body search. mineralized undiscovered. “
“This represents an important step towards faster and more efficient exploration to support the discovery of the next generation of mineral deposits hidden beneath the state’s surface.”
“By supporting this research, the Government of Western Australia is helping our exploration industry develop the tools it needs to be successful. “
The technical report summarizing the research results can be viewed here: https://www.mriwa.wa.gov.au/research-projects/project-portfolio/4d-evolution-of-wa-ore-systems-rutile-pathfinder-to-ores