Industry interaction


CCFS has a strategic goal to interact closely with the mineral exploration industry at both the research and the teaching/training levels. The research results of the Centre’s work are transferred to industry and to the scientific community in several ways:

  • collaborative industry-supported Honours, MSc and PhD projects
  • short courses relevant to industry and government-sector users, designed to communicate and transfer new technologies, techniques and knowledge in the discipline areas relevant to CCFS
  • one-on-one research collaborations and shorter-term collaborative research on industry problems involving national and international partners
  • provision of high-quality geochemical analyses with value-added interpretations on a collaborative research basis with industry and government organisations, extending our industry interface
  • use of consultancies and collaborative industry projects (through the commercial arms of the national universities) which employ and disseminate the technological and conceptual developments carried out by the Centre
  • GLITTER, an on-line data-reduction program for Laser Ablation ICPMS analysis, developed by GEMOC and CSIRO/GEMOC participants, has been successfully commercialised and continues to be available from GEMOC through Access MQ (; the software is continually upgraded.
  • collaborative relationships with technology manufacturers (more detail in the section on Technology Development )

The Centre for Exploration Targeting (CET) at UWA ( provides CCFS with a unique interface with a broad spectrum of mineral exploration companies and many CET activities (e.g. research projects, workshops and postgraduate short courses). 


CCFS suports the national UNCOVER initiative:



CCFS industry support includes:

  • direct funding of research programs 
  • industry subscriptions (CET)
  • “in kind” funding including field support (Australia and overseas), access to proprietary databases, sample collections, digital datasets and support for GIS platforms 
  • logistical support for fieldwork for postgraduate projects
  • collaborative research programs through ARC Linkage Projects and the University External Collaborative Grants (e.g. Macquarie’s Enterprise Grant Scheme) and PhD program support
  • assistance in the implementation of GIS technology in postgraduate programs 
  • participation of industry colleagues as guest lecturers in undergraduate units 
  • extended visits by industry personnel for interaction and research
  • ongoing informal provision of advice and formal input as members of the Advisory Board


  • TerraneChron® studies (see have enjoyed continued uptake by a significant segment of the global mineral exploration industry.  This methodology, currently unique to CCFS/GEMOC, requires the integration of data from three instruments (electron microprobe, LAM-ICPMS and LAM-MC-ICPMS) and delivers fast, cost-effective information on the tectonic history of regional terranes (  The unique extensive database (over 26,000 zircon U-Pb and Hf-isotope analyses) in the Macquarie laboratory allows unparalleled contextual information in the interpretations and reports provided to industry.  Three major Industry Reports were completed for collaborative industry projects related to TerraneChron® at CCFS/GEMOC in 2013.  This formally involved project collaboration with five industry partners.
  • An ARC Linkage project continued, aimed at understanding the lithospheric architecture and mineral systems across the Neoarchean to Paleoproterozoic time periods, specifically comparing the Yilgarn Craton, Tanami Orogen, and western African craton.  This project is based at CET but involves cross-node participation in CCFS.
  • Two new linkage projects commenced in 2013  “Craton modification and growth: the east Albany-Fraser Orogen in three-dimensions” (ANU, GSWA) CIs:  Tkalcic, Kennett, Spaggiari, Gessner and “Chronostratigraphic and tectonothermal history of the northern Capricorn Orogen: constructing a geological framework for understanding mineral systems” (Curtin, GSWA)  CIs:  Rasmussen, Dunkley, Muhling, Johnson,  Thorne, Korhonen, Kirkland, Wingate
  • The Distal Footprints of Giant Ore Systems: UNCOVER Australia, Supported by CSIRO ex Science & Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF), MERIWA, Industry Collaborators, CSIRO, University of Western Australia, Curtin University, Geological Survey of Western Australia, CIs:  Hough, Reddy, McCuaig, Tyler, Dentith,  Shragge, Miller, Fiorentini, Aitken. This project aims to develop a toolkit with a workflow to identify the distal footprints of the Giant Ore Systems.  The project aims to overcome the fundamental limitation in current exploration methodologies; Australia’s thick cover of weathered rock and sediment.
  • The ARC Linkage Project titled “Global Lithosphere Architecture Mapping” (GLAM) was extended as the “LAMP”  (Lithosphere Architecture Mapping in Phanerozoic orogens) project through a Macquarie University Enterprise Grant with Minerals Targeting International as the external industry partner.  A sub-licencing agreement with Minerals Targeting International accommodates Dr Graham Begg’s role and access to GLAM IP (in relationship to Macquarie, BHP Billiton and the GLAM project) as Director of this company.  Dr Begg spent significant research time at GEMOC through 2013 as part of the close collaborative working pattern for this project.  This project was further supported by a DVC(R) Discretionary Grant in 2013. 
  • On-going collaboration with BHP Billiton (Dr Kathy Ehrig) and University of Tasmania (Professor Vadim Kamenetsky) looking for evidence of younger magmatic events (e.g. Grenville-age events) in the magmatic evolution of the Gawler Craton, with a particular focus on the region around the giant Olympic Dam deposit.

Professor Vadim (Dima) Kamenetsky (University of Tasmania) visited with Elena Belousova during June 2013 for discussions about Olympic Dam zircons.

  • GEMOC’s development of a methodology for analysis of trace elements in diamond continued to open up potential further developments and applications relevant to industry, ranging from diamond fingerprinting for a range of purposes to improving the knowledge framework for diamond exploration.  This work is continuing, with a focus on understanding the growth and chemical history of individual diamonds and diamond populations.  It was supported in 2013 by CCFS Foundation Project 8 and Research Associate funding for Dr Dan Howell.  
  • he GEMOC technique for dating the intrusion of kimberlites and lamproites using LAM-ICPMS U-Pb analysis of groundmass perovskite continued.  This rapid, low-cost application has proven very attractive to the diamond exploration industry, and has led to several collaborative projects. 
  • The application of U-series isotopes to groundwater studies for both exploration and investigation of palaeoclimate continued in 2013.  Collaboration with Heathgate Resources at the Beverley Uranium mine in South Australia is investigating these processes using a well-constrained aquifer system in both a mining and exploration context. 
  • Geodynamic modelling capabilities have now been extended to industry-related projects.  An ongoing collaboration between GEMOC and Granite Power Ltd has led to important data exchange, and to a paper ( CCFS publication #165 ) on the thermal and gravity structure of the Sydney Basin.
  • A continuing collaborative relationship with New South Wales Geological Survey is applying TerraneChron® to investigations of the provenance of targeted sequences in the Paleozoic sedimentary terranes of eastern Australia, and the development of the Macquarie Arc and the Thompson Orogen.
  • A collaborative research project continued in 2013 with the Geological Survey of Western Australia as a formal CCFS Foundation Project, in which GEMOC is carrying out in-situ Hf-isotope analyses of previously SHRIMP-dated zircon grains from across the state.  This is a part of the WA Government’s Exploration Incentive Scheme.
  • Following Professor Bill Griffin’s Noumea workshop on new approaches to exploration and minor-element exploitation in ophiolitic complexes for SLN, who operate the large Ni mines on New Caledonia, a collaborative project has resulted involving the BRGM and a PhD student from the Sorbonne (France).
  • CET held their annual “Corporate Members Day” on the 9th of December 2013, to showcase its research to its Corporate Members.  The day provided an audience of over 60 representatives from CET Member companies with the opportunity to discuss the innovative work of the CET, including its involvement in CCFS, and also gave the CCFS ECR and postgraduate students a chance to interact with industry (  Posters and poster presentations by CET staff and students showcased the width and breadth of research activities.
  • Appendix 7Industry visitors spent varying periods at Macquarie, Curtin and UWA (CET) in 2013 to discuss our research and technology development (see visitor list, Appendix 7).  This face-to-face interaction has proved highly effective both for CCFS researchers and industry colleagues.
  • DIATREEM (an AccessMQ Project) continued to provide LAM-ICPMS analyses of garnets and chromites to the diamond-exploration industry on a collaborative basis. 
  • CCFS publications, preprints and non-proprietary reports are available on request for industry libraries.
  • CCFS participants were prominent in delivering keynote and invited talks and workshop modules, and convening relevant sessions at national and international industry peak conferences in 2013.

See Appendix 6 for abstract titles and Appendix 5 for recent publications. 

A full list of previous GEMOC publications is available at


These are brief descriptions of 2013 and current CCFS projects that have direct cash support from industry, with either formal ARC, internal University or State Government support status and timeframes of at least one year.  Projects are both national and global.  In addition to these formal projects, many shorter projects are directly funded by industry alone, and the results of these feed into our basic research databases (with varied confidentiality considerations).  Such projects are administered by the commercial arms of the relevant universities (e.g. Access MQ Limited, at Macquarie).

CCFS industry collaborative projects are designed to develop the strategic and applied aspects of the basic research programs, and are many are based on understanding the architecture of the lithosphere and the nature of Earth’s geodynamic processes that have controlled the evolution of the lithosphere and its important discontinuities.  Basic research strands translated to strategic applications include the use of geochemical data on crustal and mantle rocks and integration with tectonic analyses and large-scale datasets (including geophysical data) to understand the relationship between lithosphere domains and large-scale mineralisation.  The use of sulfides to date mantle events, and the characterisation of crustal terrane development using U-Pb dating and Hf isotopic compositions of zircons provide more information for integration with geophysical modelling.  TerraneChron® is an important tool for characterising the tectonic history and crustal evolution of terranes on the scale of 10 – 100 km and delivers a cost-effective exploration tool to the mineral (and potentially petroleum) exploration industry. 


Craton modification and growth: the east Albany-Fraser Orogen in three-dimensions 

Linkage Project 
Industry Collaborator:  Geological Survey of Western Australia
CIs:  Tkalcic, Kennett, Spaggiari, Gessner 
Summary:  The objective of this work is to achieve new, synergistic techniques for delineating the three-dimensional structure of the east Albany-Fraser Orogen in Western Australia, and the lithospheric structure below it.  These methods will guide understanding of the potential for mineral resources in this region with little surface geological exposure.

Chronostratigraphic and tectonothermal history of the northern Capricorn Orogen: constructing a geological framework for understanding mineral systems 

Linkage Project 
Industry Collaborator:  Geological Survey of Western Australia
CIs:  Rasmussen, Dunkley, Muhling, Johnson,  Thorne, Korhonen, Kirkland, Wingate 
Summary:  The application of innovative age dating techniques with field mapping and a new deep seismic survey across the Capricorn Orogen by this project will help construct a vastly improved geological framework for understanding large mineral systems.  Outcomes of this project will reduce uncertainty and risk in exploration, thereby improving the discovery rate of natural resources.

The applicability of Ru-chromite signatures in the exploration for picrite-hosted Ni-Cu-PGE sulfide deposits

Industry Collaborator:  Rio Tinto
CIs:  Fiorentini, Locmelis, Pearson, Agnew, Kobussen
Summary:  The collaborative project aims to develop reliable heavy mineral indicators in the exploration for magmatic mineral systems.  A pilot study is being undertaken with Rio Tinto to test the applicability of the Ru-chromite method of Locmelis et al. (2011; 2013; in review) in picritic systems.  The method currently enables the discrimination between mineralised and barren komatiites, komatiitic basalts and ferropicrites.  The study will further develop the use of laser ablation ICP-MS analysis to determine Ru abundance in chromite from a selected range of mineralised and barren picritic intrusions. 


The Distal Footprints of Giant Ore Systems: UNCOVER Australia

Supported by CSIRO ex Science & Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF)
Industry Collaborator:  CSIRO, University of Western Australia, Curtin University, Geological Survey of Western Australia
CIs:  Hough, Reddy, McCuaig, Tyler, Dentith,  Shragge, Miller, Fiorentini, Aitken
Summary:  Australia is an old continent with much of its remaining mineral wealth masked by a thick cover of weathered rock and sediments that pose a formidable challenge for future mineral exploration.
This project aims to develop a toolkit with a workflow to identify the distal footprints of the Giant Ore Systems to address a fundamental limitation in current exploration methodologies.

Lithospheric Architecture Mapping in Phanerozoic Orogens

Supported by MQ Funds
Industry Collaborator:  Minerals Targeting International (PI G. Begg)
CIs:  Griffin, O’Reilly, Pearson, Belousova, Natapov 
Summary:  The GEMOC Key Centre has developed the conceptual and technological tools required to map the architecture and evolution of the upper lithosphere (0-250 km depth) of cratons (the ancient nuclei of continents).  Through two industry-funded programs we have mapped most of the world’s cratons, making up ca 70% of Earth’s surface.  The remaining 30% consists of younger mobile belts, which hold many major ore deposits, but are much more complex and difficult to map.  This pilot project is developing the additional tools required to map the mobile belts.  

A novel approach to economic uranium deposit exploration and environmental studies

Supported by ARC Linkage Project
Industry Collaborator:  Heathgate Resources
CIs:  Turner, Schaefer, McConachy
Summary:  The project proposes the use of a novel approach to prospecting for economic uranium ore deposits.  The measurement of radioactive decay products of uranium in waters (streams and aquifers) and sediments will allow us to (i) identify and locate economic uranium ore deposits and (ii) quantify the rate of release of uranium and decay products during weathering and hence the evolution of the landscape over time.  In addition, this project will improve our knowledge of the mobility of radioactive elements during rock-water interaction, which can be used to assess the safety of radioactive waste disposal.  Outcomes of this project will be: (i) the discovery of new economic uranium deposits; (ii) development of a new exploration technology allowing for improved ore deposit targeting.  Information gained on the behaviour of radioactive elements at the Earth’s surface will be critical for the study of safety issues related to radioactive waste storage and obtaining reliable time constraints on the evolution of the Australian landscape.

Four-dimensional lithospheric evolution and controls on mineral system distribution in Neoarchaen to Paleoproterozoic terranes

Supported by ARC Linkage Project 
Industry Collaborator:  WA Department of Mines and Petroleum 
CIs:  McCuaig, Barley, Fiorentini, Kemp, Belousova, Jessell, Hein, Begg, Tunjic, Bagas, Said  
Summary:  This project will obtain a better understanding of the evolution, architecture and preservation of continents and their links to mineral deposits between 2.7 and 1.8 billion years ago (a period in Earth history that is endowed with mineral deposits and reflects a very important transition in the evolution of our planet and its biosphere-hydrosphere-atmosphere).  By producing and integrating new high quality geophysical and geochemical data and making a major contribution to training students and researchers, the project aims to develop a superior model to help understand Earth’s evolution and target areas of high prospectivity for important mineral deposits.  The results will be applicable to exploration in Australia and world-wide.

Multiscale dynamics of ore body formation

Supported by ARC Linkage Project  
Industry Collaborators:  Geocrust Pty Ltd, Geological Survey of Western Australia, Golden Phoenix International Pty Ltd, Mineral Mapping Pty Ltd, Primary Industries and Resources South Australia (PIRSA), Silver Swan Group Ltd, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Vearncombe & Associates Pty Ltd, Western Mining Services (Australia) Pty Ltd
CIs:  Gessner, McCuaig, Hobbs, Cawood, Gorczyk, Connolly, Gerya, O’Neill, Lester 
Summary:  We develop a model for hydrothermal mineralising systems where processes are coupled from the scale of the Earth’s lithosphere down to the scale of an ore body.  The goal is to define measurable parameters that control the size of such systems and that can be used as mineral exploration criteria.  We explore proposals that special lithospheric structural architectures associated with old craton margins are sites for influx of CO2 into the lithosphere so that eventually these architectures control metal sources.  At the mineralising site diagnostic features result from strong interaction between deformation, fluid flow, thermal transport and chemical reactions.  This system is analysed using the principles of non-equilibrium thermodynamics.

Hydrothermal remobilisation of base metals and platinum group elements in magmatic nickel deposits

Supported by ARC Linkage Project 
Industry Collaborator:  Minerals and Energy Research Institute of Western Australia
CIs:  Fiorentini, Brugger, Barnes, Perring 
Summary:  Magmatic nickel sulfide deposits are highly valuable but extremely challenging exploration targets, characteristically lacking the distinctive geochemical halos that allow small targets to be identified from sparse drilling.  Consequently, undiscovered deposits are highly likely to exist at depth, even in well explored terranes.  The remobilisation of metals during post-deposition hydrothermal alteration has the potential to result in large halos, whose recognition could revolutionise exploration for magmatic nickel deposits.  In this ARC Linkage project, new field observations are currently being combined with innovative experiments aimed at answering critical questions about the mobility of these metals in H2O-CO2-H2S-Cl fluids in order to develop new exploration models.

PaleoplateGIS quantification of the latitude and tectonic triggers for CD deposits in ancient passive margins

Supported by the Minerals and Metal Group
CIs:  Leach, Li, Pisarevsky, Gardoll
Summary: This a pilot study to examine the possible paleolatitudinal and plate kinematic controls on global clastic-hosted lead-zinc mineralisation (or CD deposits) in the past 1000 Ma, and use the identified criteria to develop a prospective map for such deposits.  To achieve this we revised our global plate motion model using the latest knowledge and developed GIS tools to determine various plate-motion parameters such as paleolatitude, plate motion speed and directions etc.  Utilising and prioritising empirically key controlling factors identified in this study, we were able to develop a set of criteria for identifying favourable passive margins for CD deposits, and use it to make global prospectivity maps.

Multiscale dynamics of hydrothermal mineral systems

Supported by MERIWA
Industry Collaborators:  Integra Mining, First Quantum Minerals, AngloGold Ashanti, SIPA Resources, GSWA, Newmont, Goldfields, Barrick Gold, OZ Minerals
CI’s:  Ord, Gorczyk, Gessner, Hobbs, Micklethwaite
Summary: The project aims to produce an integrated framework for the origin of giant hydrothermal deposits.  The study crosses all the length scales from lithospheric down to thin section.  The goal is to define measurable parameters that control the size of such systems and that can be used as mineral exploration criteria.  In particular the emphasis is on: 
(i) criteria that distinguish a “successful” from a “failed” mineral system and
(ii) vectors to mineralisation within a successful system.

Hydrothermal footprints of magmatic nickel sulfide deposits

Supported by MERIWA, WA State Government (commenced 2011)
CI’s:  Fiorentini, Barnes, Miller 
Summary:  (MERIWA M413) This study focuses on the mineralogical and lithogeochemical footprints around syngenetic magmatic nickel-sulfide deposits, which arise from the interaction of these deposits with later hydrothermal fluids.  Hydrothermal footprints are in common use in gold and Cu-Zn exploration, but have so far received little attention from nickel explorers, mainly because the nature and the scale of the alteration halo are largely unconstrained.  This study addresses this window of opportunity: The new knowledge acquired from this study will aid exploration for nickel-sulfide systems at multiple scales, and will be applied in the interpretation of isolated “orphan” drill holes under cover in greenfields terranes, as well as in more data-rich mine-scale environments.