Thursday 17 December 2020

MinEx CRC has successfully completed its first National Drilling Initiative (NDI) campaigns, including a 1750m drill hole (known as NDI Carrara 1) at a location near the Northern Territory/Queensland border, approximately 250km north-west of Mount Isa.

The NDI Carrara 1 hole was designed to capture geological and stratigraphic information from a previously unknown sedimentary basin, and to assess the basin for potential to host energy and mineral resources.

The drill hole is part of a world-first scientific drilling program, the National Drilling Initiative (NDI), designed to understand the evolution of the Australian continent, provide clues about where to search for new mineral deposits and bring forward the next generation of mineral exploration technology.

In collaboration with Geoscience Australia and geological survey organisations in every state and territory, the NDI will manage and deliver a seven-year program with multiple drilling campaigns spread across Australia.

“This Campaign will provide significant pre-competitive data to assist in predicting unknown resources, and to further develop an understanding of the energy, minerals and groundwater potential in the South Nicholson Basin region of the Northern Territory,” MinEx CRC CEO, Andrew Bailey said.

Initial results indicate the drill hole intersected rocks of the Georgina Basin, possibly the South Nicholson Basin, and terminated in the Paleoproterozoic Isa Superbasin package.

Dr Andrew Heap, Chief of the Minerals, Energy and Groundwater Division at Geoscience Australia said the aims of the NDI program strongly support the organisation’s work in the region.

“Geoscience Australia is pleased to partner with MinEx CRC on the completion of the first stratigraphic borehole to test this frontier sub-basin, recently discovered in seismic data acquired during the Exploring for the Future (EFTF) program,” he said.

“The borehole has already provided intriguing results, with analysis of some samples already underway at Geoscience Australia’s labs.

“These exciting new results will allow us to test our interpretations developed during the first phase of EFTF, as well as support resource discovery and the continued development of the Barkly Region.”

“The geological knowledge we gain from projects like this in frontier regions contribute to better understanding Australia’s national resource potential, for the benefit of all Australians,” he said.

Ian Scrimgeour, Executive Director of the NT Geological Survey said the drill hole will help geologists understand the relationship between various basins and the Lawn Hill Platform.

“The relationship between the resource-rich Beetaloo Sub-basin and McArthur Basin with the underexplored South Nicholson Basin and Lawn Hill Platform has long been speculated,” he said.

“Carrara-1 will be crucial in answering this question and improving the understanding of the mineral and petroleum potential of this greenfields area.”

A detailed suite of in situ petrophysical logs were acquired during the drilling program and a variety of measurements will be undertaken on the physical samples, including age dating and geochemical analyses to better characterise the stratigraphy and resource potential of the region.

Results will be released throughout 2021.


Photo caption: Drilling equipment on route for the MinEx CRC NDI Drilling Program.



MinEx CRC is the world’s largest mineral exploration collaboration bringing together Industry, Government and Research Organisations with $220M of funding comprising of:

  • $50M cash from the CRC Program
  • $41M cash from geological surveys and industry
  • $51M non-staff in-kind
  • $78M or 311FTE staff in-kind



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