A 3D model of a mining basin in Central Queensland could help explorers discover more of the untapped potential of the historic mining region, Mines and Energy Minister Geoff Wilson said.
According to Wilson, three-dimensional mapping of the Northern Drummond Basin, west of the coal-rich Bowen Basin, could help explorers find new deposits of gold, silver, copper and lead.
"Historically, mines in the area have produced a lot of those minerals, along with bismuth, graphite and wolframite. Limestone and molybdenite have also been discovered," he said.
"There's more waiting to be found, some deeper underground, and the new 3D model will make it easier for explorers to tap into those hidden resources.”
Researchers are building a computer-generated 3D model of how below-ground layers mix with more recent structural changes like faults and folds.
"The data from the 3D map will help geologists work out the effect of all those changes, over time, on the ore bodies and the mineral concentrations buried within.
"Importantly, the new data will remove a lot of the financial risks for explorers. They'll have a better idea of what's underground, and where to find it," Wilson said.
The Northern Drummond Basin covers around 30,000 square kilometres to the south of Charters Towers and west of Collinsville.
Wilson said the Geological Survey of Queensland section of his Department was working with research partners at James Cook University on the new 3-D model.
The team expects to release the results to industry later this year.