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 p. 95 and have enjoyed continued uptake by a significantsegment of the global mineral exploration industry. This methodology, currently unique to CCFS/GEMOC, requires the integration of data from threeinstruments (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 30,000 zircon U-Pb and Hf-isotope analyses) in the Macquarie laboratoryallows unparalleled contextual information in the interpretations and reports provided to industry. Four major Industry Reports were completed forcollaborative industry projects related to TerraneChron® at CCFS/GEMOC in 2015. This formally involved project collaboration with four industrypartners.

• The Distal Footprints of Giant Ore Systems: UNCOVER Australia, (supported by CSIRO ex Science & Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF), MERIWA and industrycollaborators) continued. The project aims to develop a toolkit with a workflow to identify the distal footprints of the Giant Ore Systems in order toovercome 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 inPhanerozoic orogens) project through a Macquarie University Enterprise Grant with Minerals Targeting International as the external industry partner. Asub-licencing agreement with Minerals Targeting International accommodates Dr Graham Begg’s role and access to GLAM IP (in relationship to Macquarie, BHPBilliton and the GLAM project) as Director of this company. Dr Begg spent significant research time at GEMOC through 2015 as part of the closecollaborative working pattern for this project.

• On-going collaboration with BHP Billiton (Dr Kathy Ehrig) and University of Tasmania (Professor Vadim Kamenetsky) looking for evidence of youngermagmatic events (e.g. Grenville-age events) in the magmatic evolution of the Gawler Craton, with a particular focus on the region around the giant OlympicDam deposit.

• A collaborative project funded by Rio Tinto Limited commenced in 2014. Marco Fiorentini and Yongjun Lu (UWA)are investigating “The mineral chemistry of zircon as a pathfinder for magmatic-hydrothermal copper and gold systems”. The project aligns with the goals of FlagshipProgram 2, Genesis, transfer and focus of fluids and metals.

• GEMOC’s development of a methodology for analysis of trace elements in diamond continued to open up potential further developments and applicationsrelevant to industry, ranging from diamond fingerprinting for a range of purposes to improving the knowledge framework for diamond exploration. This workis continuing, with a focus on understanding the growth and chemical history of individual diamonds and diamond populations. It was supported in 2015 byCCFS Flagship Program 1.

• The 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.

• Geodynamic modelling capabilities have now been extended to industry-related projects. An ongoing collaboration between GEMOC and Granite Power Ltd hasled 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 oftargeted 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 2015 with the GSWA as a formal CCFS Flagship Program, in which GEMOC is carrying out in situHf-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, acollaborative project was established with Jervois Mining, involving a co-tutelle PhD student (Matthieu Chasse) jointly supervised by Professor GeorgeCallas, Pierre et Marie Curie University, Paris, France. This project continued in 2015.

• CET held their annual “Corporate Members Day” on the 8th of December 2015, to showcase its research to its Corporate Members. The dayprovided an audience of over 65 representatives from CET Member companies with the opportunity to discuss the innovative work of the CET, including itsinvolvement in CCFS, and also gave the CCFS ECR and postgraduate students a chance to interact with industry ( and poster presentations by CET staff and students showcased the width and breadth of research activities. CCFS PhD Student, Katarina Bjorkman wasawarded the Hammond-Nisbet Fellow Poster Award for best student poster (see p. 77).

• Industry visitors spent varying periods at Macquarie, Curtin and UWA (CET) in 2015 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 sessions relevant to mineral exploration atnational and international industry peak conferences in 2015 (see Abstracts, Appendix 6).

A full list of previous GEMOC publications is available at


Current industry-funded collaborative research projects

These are brief descriptions of current CCFS projects that have direct cash support from industry, most with combinations from ARC, internal University orState Government support. Projects are both national and global. In addition to these formal projects, many shorter projects are directly funded byindustry, and the results of these feed into our basic research databases (with varied confidentiality considerations). Such projects are administered bythe commercial arms of the relevant universities (e.g. AccessMQ Limited, at Macquarie).

CCFS industry collaborative projects are designed to develop the strategic and applied aspects of the basic research programs, and many are based onunderstanding the architecture of the lithosphere and the nature of Earth’s geodynamic processes that have controlled the evolution of the lithosphere andits important discontinuities. Basic research strands translated to strategic applications include the use of geochemical data integrated with tectonicanalyses and large-scale datasets (including geophysical) 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 (TerraneChron® ) are being developed as a regional isotopic mapping tools for integration with geophysical modelling.




Reducing 3D geological uncertainty via improved data interpretation methods

Linkage Project Industry Collaborators: Western Mining Services Australia Pty Ltd, Geological Survey of Western Australia
CIs: Jessell, Holden, Baddeley, Kovesi, Ailleres, Wedge, Lindsay, Gessner, Hronsky
The integrity of 3D geological models heavily relies on robust and consistent data interpretation. This project proposes an innovative workflow for 3D modelling to minimise geological uncertainty. Advanced visualisation and intelligent decision support methods will be combined to assist geological interpretation. Feedback on interpretation will be provided based on data evidence and consistency with expert knowledge and previous interpretations. The process can be considered as a spelling and grammar checker for geological interpretation. The outcome of this study aims to achieve an improved workflow that reduces model uncertainty, resulting in a broad and significant impact on the management of Australian mineral, energy and water resources.

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
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
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.

Gold pathways: evolution of the lithospheric to crustal architecture of the El Indio Belt, Chile-Argentina

Industry Collaborator: Barrick Exploration (finance and logistical support)
CIs: McCuaig, Jara-Barra

This study will test the Mineral System hypothesis in one of the most highly Au-endowed provinces of the Andes Cordillera (>40Moz Au), intending to define: the trans-lithospheric architecture that acts as the magma/fluids pathway, linking the fertile source with the deposits’ location; and this architecture’s geodynamic evolution related to metallogenic events.
The El Indio Belt has a long exploration history, providing a broad variety of studies and datasets (geophysical, geochemical, geological) on which this work will build. The study will provide the first regional syntheses of these datasets, complemented with new field, isotopic and structural data..

Enhanced predictive capability for targeting high quality magmatic hydrothermal copper, gold and molybdenum deposits

Industry Collaborator: Rio Tinto Exploration
CIs: Fiorentini, Lu, Loucks, McCuaig
Zircon chemistry has great potential to be used as a pathfinder for porphyry Cu ± Mo ± Au systems. We will examine a large integrated LA-ICP-MS U-Pb age and trace element dataset for both infertile and ore-productive magmatic suites to elucidate distinctive zircon signatures diagnostic of metallogenic fertility of the parent magma. This dataset will provide a relevant boost in the exploration kit arsenal of porphyry explorers, both at the detection and predictive scale. There will be significant potential for translation of this knowledge into ongoing exploration campaigns that utilise the detrital record as the primary means of sample analysis.

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
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

Industry Collaborator: Minerals Targeting International (PI G. Begg)
CIs: Griffin, O’Reilly, Pearson, Belousova, Natapov
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.

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
CIs: Ord, Gorczyk, Gessner, Hobbs, Micklethwaite
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.