Critical Raw Materials: Heavy Minerals to Help Australia in Exploration

by | 19. Oct 2023 - 13:52 | Knowledge

World’s first comprehensive map created.

Heavy minerals in floodplain sediments allow conclusions to be drawn about mineral resources located further upstream. Heavy minerals, defined as minerals with a density greater than 2.9 g/cm³, include diamonds, tourmalines, and precious metals such as gold and platinum. Researchers from Geoscience Australia have now mapped the deposits of this mineral group nationwide for the first time. This globally unique collection of data can help discover deposits of raw materials relevant to the energy transition, including rare earth elements. Until now, heavy minerals have been used by the petroleum industry, for example, but not in the search for critical raw materials.

More than 145 million minerals from 1,315 samples were analyzed to create the maps over more than two years.

The Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Madeleine King, highlighted the importance of the maps as a future tool for resource extraction in Australia. Pre-competitive geoscience is key to unlocking new commercial exploration, she said.

Australia has recognized the growing demand for critical minerals for some time. It is pushing exploration for new deposits and increasingly focusing on secondary deposits that could be in for a second life.

The entire study can be found here (PDF).

Photo: iStock/SeventyFour

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