As part of the country’s game plan to remain a mining hub to be reckoned with, Australian government, industry and academia have put minds and funding together to develop innovative techniques to assist with ongoing exploration and development of the country’s mineral wealth.

The most recent advancement from this strategy is the South Australian government’s launch of its three-dimensional (3D) geophysical model of the entire state.

This 3D Geophysical Reference Model was a collaborative effort between the South Australian Department of State Development, the University of Adelaide, Geoscience Australia and the Deep Exploration Technologies Cooperative Research Centre.

Drawing on South Australia’s resource data sets, the 3D model enables potential explorers to view cross-sections of the earth up to a 100-kilometre depth.
The model combines information on gravity, magnetic and magnetotelluric inversions with deep crustal reflection seismic surveys and seismological velocity models. The information can be queried and interpreted and assist with creating better informed exploration targets – increasing the potential for unlocking underground mineral wealth, while decreasing exploration costs and time.

South Australian Assistant Minister Chris Picton said this was the first time a “model of this size, complexity and richness of geophysical data, has been produced” for the state.

“This valuable new research and exploration tool is world-class. A tool such as this is indispensable for addressing the modern exploration challenges of finding significant new deposits at depth, under cover, or in complex settings,” Picton added.

The model can be accessed via this link. State Development South Australia


The release of the South Australian 3D model is part of the UNCOVER initiative. UNCOVER is a collaboration between various Australian organisations including Geoscience Australia, CSIRO, resources industry, cooperative research centres, universities, AMIRA international, state and territory geological surveys, geophysical surveys, software development and drilling service providers.

With a strong dependence on commodity exports for Australia’s economic prosperity, UNCOVER was established to improve underground mineral exploration accuracy.



As mineral exploration decreases along with easily exploited surface deposits, many Australian stakeholders have identified the need for continued identification of prospective areas for unexploited commodity.

One of the primary challenges for Australian resources companies is acquiring exploration funding in the current economic climate. Additionally, exploration and discovery of economically viable mineral deposits has lagged with many producing mines discovered more than 30 years ago.

In 2014-2015, minerals, alone, without oil and gas, accounted for nearly half of Australia’s goods and services exports and contributed about $143 billion to the Australian economy. This further highlights the importance of mining to Australia’s ongoing wealth.


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