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.

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 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 (http://www.gemoc. The unique extensive database (over 31,600 zircon U-Pb and Hf-isotope analyses) in the Macquarie laboratory allows unparalleled contextual information in the interpretations and reports provided to industry.

  • 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.



Sarah Gain and Jinxiang Huang searching for exotic minerals in the Shefa Yamim (A.T.M) Ltd. mineral sorting facitlity in Akko, with COO Vered Toledo and assistant Mendi Taub in the background.




  • The CCFS collaboration with Shefa Yamim (A.T.M.) Ltd. (Akko, Israel) continued and expanded in 2017. Bill Griffin and Sue O’Reilly visited Israel in January to give talks at the annual congress of the Israeli Geological Society (IGS) in Eilat. There was also a very active and vibrant poster session. Following the meeting they returned to the Mt Carmel area to examine and sample several localities of the Cretaceous volcanic rocks, and to visit the alluvial exploration sites under the guidance of Dr John Ward, an expert on alluvial mining. Laboratory work on the remarkable super-reduced mineral associations continued, including collaboration with Prof Martin Saunders in the TEM lab at CMCA in Perth.

  • CET held their annual “Corporate Members Day” on the 5h of December 2017, to showcase its research to its Corporate Members. The day provided an audience of over 70 representatives from CET Member companies with the opportunity to discuss the innovative work of the CET, including its involvement in CCFS, and gave 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. CCFS participant, Crystal LaFlamme presented a talk on "Mapping deposit footprint, tracing fluid sources and deposition processes orogenic gold deposit in the Yilgarn Craton: new application of sulfur isotope geochemistry"

  • 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-licensing 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 2017 as part of the close collaborative working pattern for this project.

  • The Linkage Project “Ore deposits and tectonic evolution of the Lachlan Orogen, SE Australia” continued between CCFS Associate Investigator Elena Belousova, the University of Tasmania, ANU, the Geological Survey of NSW, Geoscience Australia, Rio Tinto Limited, Alkane Resources Ltd, Sandfire Resources Nl, IMEX Consulting, Evolution Mining Limited, Heron Resources Limited and the Department of State Growth. The project aims to look at ore deposits and the tectonic evolution of the Lachlan Orogen in SE Australia. The outcomes of this project will be used to identify areas of high potential for economically valuable ore deposits, enabling more efficient prioritisation of mineral exploration efforts in South-Eastern Australia.

  • 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. It played a significant role in Montgarri Castillo- Oliver’s PhD study of Angolan kimberlites, carried out in collaboration with the mineral exploration industry in Angola.

  • A collaborative research project continued in 2016 with the GSWA as a formal CCFS Flagship Program, 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, a collaborative project was established with Jervois Mining, involving a cotutelle PhD student (Mathieu Chassé) jointly supervised by Professor George Callas, Pierre et Marie Curie University, Paris, France. This project continued in 2017, culminating in Mathieu receiving his PhD. The project has led to significant advances in understanding the speciation and mineral residence of the element Scandium (Sc) in lateritic weathering profiles developed on mafic and ultramafic rocks. It also has helped to characterise and define a world-class Sc resource in western New South Wales, and to provide indicators for further exploration. Mathieu has gone on to take up an Assistant Lecturer position at Pierre and Marie Curie University, France.

  • Industry partners provided mentoring and both logistical and financial support for CCFS postgraduate research projects in 2017. Participating organisations include: BHP Billiton (BHP Chile Inc.), Barrick Exploration (Compania Minera Barrick Chile Ltd.), Northern Star (Kanowna) Pty ltd., Teck Resources Ltd, CSIRO, ANSTO and MRIWA. See CCFS Postgraduates (p. 75) for a full list of postgraduate projects.

  • Industry visitors spent varying periods at Macquarie, Curtin and UWA (CET) in 2017 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.

  • 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 at national and international industry peak conferences in 2017 (see Abstracts, Appendix 6).

A full list of previous GEMOC publications is available at here


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 or State Government support.

Projects are both national and global. In addition to these formal projects, many shorter projects are directly funded by industry, 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. AccessMQ Limited, at Macquarie).

CCFS industry collaborative projects are designed to develop the strategic aspects and applications stemming from the fundamental research programs; 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.

The basic research strands that have given rise to strategic applications include the use of geochemical data integrated with tectonic analyses 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®) have been developed as regional isotopic mapping tools for integration with geophysical modelling.

This integrated approach, has been widely adopted by a significant proportion of the mineral exploration industry and has resulted in granting of licence to use methodologies developed. CCFS Chief and Associate Investigators, collaborating researchers and Board members have been instrumental in shaping UNCOVER Australia and in shaping the 2017 AMIRA “Undercover Roadmap” (ROADMAP). Indeed the 4-D Lithosphere Mapping approach, established by GEMOC and CCFS with industry partners, forms the robust conceptual basis for UNCOVER, contributed significantly to the AMIRA Roadmap process, and has become part of the vernacular in smart exploration strategies.




Ore deposits and tectonic evolution of the Lachlan Orogen, SE Australia

Linkage Project (LP160100483)
Industry Collaborators: Rio Tinto Limited; Alkane Resources Ltd; Sandfire Resources Nl; IMEX Consulting; Evolution Mining Limited; Geoscience Australia; Geological Survey of NSW; Heron Resources Limited; Department of State Growth
CIs: Meffre, Whittaker, Norman, Cracknell, Belousova, Collins, Arundall, Cooke, Maas, Huston, Musgrave, Greenfiel
This project aims to develop and test models to evaluate past tectonic processes and configurations in South-east Australia, using both new and existing geological, geophysical and isotopic data. Over the past 550 million years, plate tectonic processes have formed metal-rich mineral deposits in South-east Australia. The project will identify areas of high potential for economically valuable ore deposits, enabling more efficient prioritisation of mineral exploration efforts. This is expected to increase the probability of significant ore deposit discoveries leading to national economic benefit.

Reducing 3D geological uncertainty via improved data interpretation methods

Linkage Project (LP140100267)
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.

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.

The distal footprints of giant ore systems: UNCOVER Australia

Supported by CSIRO ex Science & Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF)
Industry Collaborator: CSIRO, UWA, CU, 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.

Distal footprints of giant ore systems: Capricorn WA case study

Supported by MRIWA M436
Industry Collaborators: CSIRO, MRIWA, Northern Star Resources Ltd, Thundelarra, Sandfire Resources NL, MMG, Golden Phoenix Resources LTD, Marindi Metals Pty Ltd, Independence Group NL, RNI
CIs: Hough, McCuaig, Reddy, Clark, Fiorentini, Gray, Miller
This study investigates the distal footprint of mineral systems by examining the indelible nature of the mass-independent fractionation of sulfur (MIF-S), which was imparted to different sulfur-bearing reservoirs prior to 2.4 billion years ago, in the Archean eon. This fractionation process led to the unique preservation of this anomalous sulfur isotope signature (as ∆33S) in the Archean sedimentary rock record (Farquhar et al. 2000). Subsequently, as this signature was recycled through different geological processes operating at various scales in space and time, we are now in the privileged position to be able to use it as an indelible tracer and marker of different geological processes.

Magmatic sulfide mineral potential in the East Kimberley

Supported by MRIWA M459
Industry Collaborators: CSIRO, MRIWA, Panoramic Resources Ltd and Kind River Copper Ltd.
CIs: Barnes, Fiorentini
Magmatic sulfide mineral potential in the East Kimberley igneous intrusions of broadly basaltic composition are the hosts for some of the world’s most valuable ore deposits of Ni, Cu and PGE, and indeed some of the most valuable ore deposits of any type on the planet. Exploration for this style of deposit in Proterozoic mobile belts has recently received a major boost in Australia following the discovery of the Nova deposit in greenfields-terrane in Western Australia, and also with exciting new discoveries and deposit extensions in the Musgrave province also in WA. However, detailed camp-scale targeting and exploration for these deposits remains extremely challenging and new approaches are required. The project will investigate the prospectivity of mafic igneous intrusive rocks in the East Kimberley based on age, internal differentiation and geochemistry of parent magmas, and isotope fingerprinting of ore minerals. The centerpiece of this extension of the project will be an investigation of the relationship between multiple small intrusions in the Savannah district, including the ore-hosting Savannah intrusion itself. We will also investigate similar attributes of the neighbouring Hart Dolerite suite and its potential for PGE-enriched magmatic sulfides. Results will be applied to an assessment of potential exploration targets within the East Kimberley region and other greenfield areas in Proterozoic mobile belts elsewhere in Western Australia.

Mineral systems on the margin of cratons: Albany-Fraser Orogen/ Eucla Basement case study

Supported by MRIWA M470
Industry Collaborators: GSWA and Ponton Minerals
CIs: Kirkland, Clark, Kiddie, Tyler, Spaggiari, Smithies, Wingate
Modern exploration requires a new integrated approach, utilising a broad range of techniques, which can collectively enhance the geological knowledge of a region’s mineral endowment. Craton margins host significant lithospheric discontinuities that focus fluids and heat and which, under favourable circumstances, may become mineralised corridors. Additionally, high-grade terrains are frequently viewed as less prospective for some mineralisation (e.g. gold) than lower-grade regions. However, recent discoveries in the Albany-Fraser Orogen highlight that many common models for mineral endowment are lacking and their resolution through cover limited. This program of research will focus on the partially covered terrain of the Albany-Fraser Orogen and the covered Eucla Basement of Western Australia. The project will utilise a lithosphere-scale mineral systems approach to establish the fundamentals (timing, scale, material) of mass transfer processes within the crust. The project will utilise a broad range of geochronology techniques to enhance GSWA’s regional U-Pb zircon coverage and will apply crustal evolution studies via novel analytical equipment to rapidly delimit domains of enhanced mantle input.

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

Industry Collaborator: Barrick Gold Corporation
CI: Fiorentini
The study of mineral deposits from a Mineral System perspective is a recent approach, whereby the clustering of major deposits is considered to be the result of conjunction in time and space of four geological factors: whole lithosphere architecture, transient favourable geodynamics, fertility, and preservation of the depositional zone. This study will test this hypothesis in one of the most highly Au-endowed provinces of the Andes Cordillera: the El Indio Belt (EIB, Chile-Argentina 29° 00'–30° 30'S), which holds >45Moz Au mainly hosted in world-class epithermal systems. It intends to define: 1. The trans-lithospheric architecture that acted as the magma/fluids pathway, linking the fertile source with the deposits location; 2. The architecture’s geodynamic evolution related to metallogenic events.

The role of whole- lithosphere architecture on the genesis of giant gold systems in the El-Indio region, Chile- Argentina

Industry Collaborator: Barrick Gold
CIs: McCuaig, Fiorentini
The overall aim of the project is to establish and link the near-surface, basement and sub-continental lithospheric structures in an integrated structural architecture and geodynamic model for the El Indio-Pascua belt to identify the fundamental controls of the location and formation of giant HS gold deposits. The research will focus on two main objectives: 1. Define the structural framework that acts as the magma/hydrothermal fluids pathway from the deep fertile source region to the shallow-crustal location of the major HS deposits. Specifically, the concept is to build a multi-scale interpretation of the fundamental structural framework and how the conduit structures are linked from surface through the lithosphere. 2. Link the Miocene metallogenic events to the geodynamic evolution of this segment of the Andean subduction system. The aim here is to document the proposed transient nature of the geodynamic evolution and its linkages to metallogenic / mineralisation pulses.

Improving zircon morphology and chemistry as a tool for assessing and ranking the relative prospectivity for Cu porphyry deposits in “greenfield” terrains

Industry Collaborators: BHP Billiton
CIs: Fiorentini, Loucks
A substantial exploration and research problem remains outstanding: although all porphyry copper ore-forming magmas are adakites (distinguished from ordinary calc-alkalic arc magmas by high Sr/Y ratio and spoon-profile rare-earth-element patterns), many adakites are apparently unmineralised or have weak, subeconomic copper mineralization. Then, how to distinguish a hydrothermally altered adakitic igneous complex that is weakly mineralised or barren from a hydrothermally altered adakitic igneous complex that is likely to contain a major copper deposit? This study is set to address this very question.

Nickel sulfide prospectivity of the King Leopold Orogen, Kimberley

Industry Collaborator: Buxton Resources
CIs: LaFlamme, Fiorentini
This study focuses on the Double Magic Project, which is a current Ni-Cu-PGE exploration target, located within the Western King Leopold Orogen, Western Australia. This body is comprised of a series of intrusive mafic sills, collectively known as the Ruins Dolerite, that have intruded into the turbidite meta sedimentary Marboo Formation. The Ruins Dolerite hosts distinct Ni-Cu sulfide mineralisation within its multiple flows but has not been previously exploited. The Ruins Dolerite is one of the earliest units within the King Leopold Orogen, with an estimated age of 1872-1861 Ma. The age of the Ruins Dolerite is analogous to that of the Tickalara Metamorphics, which similarly hosts significant Ni-Cu-PGE mineralisation at Savannah. This relative age proximity and similarity in mineralisation style question 1) whether the Souble Magic and Savannah systems are genetically related and 2) how mineralisation associated with the Ruins Dolerite fits into the current understanding of the formation of the Central and Eastern Kimberley Regions.

Geology and ore genesis of the Nova- Bollinger Ni deposit, WA

Industry Collaborator: IGO Independence
CIs: Barnes, Fiorentini
This study focuses on unravelling the multiple sulfur isotope architecture of the Nova-Bollinger deposit. Expected outcomes from this work will help to define the ore genesis of the most significant Australian nickel sulfide discovery in decades as well as provide a new framework for the exploration of mafic-hosted systems along the margins of Archean cratons.

Fluid evolution monitored by stable isotopes at the Kanowna Belle deposit

Industry Collaborator: Northern Star Resources
CIs: Thébaud, Fiorentini, LaFlamme, Sugiono
This project has Northern Star Resources as the sole sponsor. The project will apply stable isotopes, focusing on multiple sulfur isotopes in the Kanowna Belle orogenic gold deposit. This application of stable isotopes will incorporate paragenetic sequence and deformation episodes of the deposit to further understand the evolution of hydrothermal fluids in Archean orogenic gold deposits.