Geology, Geology Talk, News

Geological treasure map may be hiding in Hobart library

 

The Mornington Core Library in Hobart, Tasmania is providing mineral explorers with an opportunity to uncover the state’s mineral deposits without investing in an exploration project.

The library features a drill core logger that analyses the chemistry of rocks and detects minerals that are essential to modern day end -products.

According to the ABC, the logger can analyse a rock sample’s make-up in four minutes – it previously took months using legacy methods.

“Modern machinery, magnets and new computer-aided devices require a whole suite of minerals that we weren’t looking at even five years ago,” Mineral Resources Tasmania’s director Kevin Robinson told the ABC.

The rock samples at Mornington Core library allow explorers to avoid funding expensive exploration projects.

“It means that you haven’t had to go out into the field to find those rock samples, and some of them could be quite rare but very, very good vectors to finding new mineralisation,” Robinson said.

The library’s collection of legacy samples are also vital for the future of commodities such as cobalt, which is increasing in demand due to new technologies such as electronic vehicles.

“It’s really important we keep the legacy samples at the rock library so if mines close down, hundreds of thousands of millions of dollars of costs to drill those samples are not all lost at once — keeping representative sections is fantastic,” Associate Professor Sebastien Meffre, the University of Tasmania’s head of earth sciences, told the ABC.

Upgrades on the way

The Tasmanian Government will be providing a $2.4 million upgrade to the Mornington Core Library.

The upgrade is anticipated to enhance Tasmania’s geotechnical testing capabilities, enabling more local scientific analysis within the state.

The library upgrade will be delivered by Fairbrother and is set to provide both the government and industry with a facility for geoscientific and analytical functions, while also combining its laboratory facilities.

An up to date interface will also be installed to boost Mineral Resources Tasmania’s industry engagement.

The library stores more than 770km of drill core and 70,000 rock samples.

This is the first upgrade the facility will receive since it was opened 30 years ago.

Tasmanian Minister for Resources Guy Barnett said the investment would support Tasmania’s economy through its resources sector.

“This is a significant investment in a sector that supports more than 5100 direct jobs, contributes more than 51 per cent of our state’s exports, and produces product with a value of more than $2 billion each year,” he said.

“When our resources sector is strong, our economy thrives, and that is why we are making a significant investment into the scientific capability available right here in Tasmania.

“This upgrade will play a significant role in realising our mineral potential and supports our collaborative efforts in working with industry through our existing scientific and exploration support packages.”

The upgrade is expected to be complete by mid-2021.