** PRESS RELEASE 1 ** Drilling Program Unlocks Hidden Mineral Potential in the East Tennant

17 December 2020.


MinEx CRC has successfully completed its first National Drilling Initiative (NDI) campaigns, including a 10 hole, 4000m drilling campaign in the East Tennant area of the Northern Territory, to assess the mineral potential of basement rocks in the region.


While gold has been mined from the Paleoproterozoic rocks around Tennant Creek since the early 1930s, there has been almost no mineral exploration in the covered rocks to the east of Tennant Creek in the 90 years since.


“The East Tennant drilling campaign was designed to test stratigraphic and structural interpretations and assess the mineral potential of basement rocks to the east of the Tennant Creek mineral field,” MinEx CRC CEO, Andrew Bailey said.


“These basement rocks are under-explored and concealed by hundreds of metres of younger sedimentary rocks.”


The drilling campaign is part of a world-first scientific drilling program, the National Drilling Initiative (NDI), designed to understand the evolution of our 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.


Results from the drilling program have uncovered a range of igneous and metasedimentary rocks, enabled a better understanding of the structure and stratigraphy of the area and helped to refine pre-drilling interpretations of the region’s prospectivity.


Drilling has also provided pinning points to constrain cover thickness, with prospective basement typically concealed beneath less than 200m of Georgina Basin sediments and less than 30m of Cambrian basalt of the Kalkarindji Suite.


“We are proud to be a participant of the MinEx CRC through our Exploring for the Future program, which identified the region as a highly-prospective frontier. The drilling results are confirming this view and will support the continued development of the Barkly Region,” Geoscience Australia’s Chief of Minerals, Energy and Groundwater Division, Dr Andrew Heap said.


“A range of detailed analyses are planned to comprehensively characterise the drill core which will provide insights into the geological evolution and mineral systems potential of the region. These results will be released throughout 2021.”


“Projects like this reveal the geology underneath the vast sedimentary cover that extends across most of Australia and open up frontier regions for exploration and resource discovery. In the future, the new geological knowledge and methods that we’ve used here can be applied in other similar prospective geological terranes across the country.”


Ian Scrimgeour, Executive Director NT Geological Survey (NTGS) said the East Tennant NDI drill core provides an exciting opportunity to understand the potential of the underexplored Barkly area.


“The range of ancillary datasets that have been acquired during the drilling campaign, coupled with the ongoing research activities on the drill core, will transform the understanding of minerals systems in the region,” he said.


“NTGS is delighted to provide value-add datasets with the acquisition of hyperspectral data and high-resolution imaging of the drill core through our HyLogger instrument.”



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




Anna Porter
MinEx CRC Communications Manager
0448 368 348


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




















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