Old rock brings new hope

Scientists have discovered a rock in the Northern Territory that could greatly enhance the viability of the region as a prospective uranium province.

Scientists have discovered a rock in the Northern Territory that could greatly enhance the viability of the region as a prospective uranium province.

Scientists discovered a 2,671 million year old rock in west Arnehem Land with the help of a new sensitive High Resolution Ion Microprobe.

The sample, which is from the Neoarchaean era of geological time from 2,800 to 2,500 million years ago, was one of a number collected during geological mapping of western Arnhem Land by the Northern Territory Geological Survey, and was dated by Geoscience Australia as part of a geochronology collaboration between the two organisations.

Overall the five rock samples collected dated from 2,513 million to 2,671 million years old.

Acting Chief of Geoscience Australia’s Onshore Energy and Minerals Division Dr Andrew Barnicoat said the discovery of the Neoarchaean rocks is of great significance for uranium explorers in the area.

“Explorers should be encouraged that these recently identified rocks are similar to Neoarchaean rocks in the Darwin-Rum Jungle region about 250 kilometres to the west, a region also renowned for uranium mineralisation,” Dr Barnicoat said.

Geoscience Australia and the Northern Territory Geological Survey plan to carry out further investigations in the future through a deep seismic survey to assess whether similar rock types are present at depth between the newly identified west Arnhem Land rocks and those previously identified in the Rum Jungle region.

The Director of the Northern Territory Geological Survey Dr Ian Scrimgeour said findings from a deep seismic survey could have important implications for uranium exploration strategies across the entire Pine Creek region.

“If the survey reveals that the West Arnhem Land rocks and those in the Rum Jungle area are part of a continuous subsurface structure, the potential for more extensive uranium resources across the Pine Creek region will be greatly enhanced,” Dr Scrimgeour said.

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