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Uncovering the home of the richest lode

Wednesday, 24th July, 2019

(From left) Dr John Greenfield and Dr Chris Yeats of Geological Survey of New South Wales with Manager of the E C Andrews Drill Core Facility Brian Casey. PICTURE: Callum Marshall (From left) Dr John Greenfield and Dr Chris Yeats of Geological Survey of New South Wales with Manager of the E C Andrews Drill Core Facility Brian Casey. PICTURE: Callum Marshall

By Callum Marshall

The significance of Broken Hill’s ore body is being highlighted this week as part of a three-day event exploring the Curnamona Province, the terrain in which it resides.

The ‘Uncover Curnamona’ event is being hosted by the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment, South Australia’s Department of the Premier and Cabinet and the Geological Society of Australia, and began yesterday with a Line of Lode Geotour as well as a core viewing session at the E C Andrews Drill Core Library.

Executive Director of the Geological Survey of New South Wales Dr Chris Yeats said the event had brought together a wide range of experts and interested parties to discuss the importance of the area and promote new discoveries within it.

“Broken Hill is the largest lead, zinc, silver ore body in the world, by quite a long stretch,” he said.

“It’s a company-maker in terms of BHP. It’s also a country-maker.

“The importance of Broken Hill to the Australian economy in the early part of the 20th century was absolutely huge in terms of the riches that it brought to the country and the other people that were brought to New South Wales.

“And the Broken Hill ore body sits within something we call the Curnamona Province, which is an ancient terrain.

“It’s about 1.7 billion years old, which is kind of the oldest rocks that are exposed in New South Wales.

“That area is the focus of the Uncover Curanmona conference and this is the third time we’ve run this conference. 

“And the idea of Uncover Curnamona is to bring together the Geological Surveys of New South Wales and South Australia, the national agency Geoscience Australia, researchers who are working on the rocks of the Curnamona Province as well as explorers working in the area.

“To share knowledge, share our understanding of the province and surrounding rocks, (and) to promote new mineral discoveries in Western New South Wales.”

Dr Yeats said that activities planned for ‘Uncover Curnamona’ included a field trip out to Mundi Mundi on Thursday to observe rocks and cover sequences out there, as well as a symposium taking place in the Civic Centre today.

“We’ve got about 100 people turning up (for) the symposium part...and that’s supported by the Geological Society of Australia and the Geological Surveys of New South Wales and South Australia,” he said. 

“We’ll have speakers from various geological surveys, both South Australia and New South Wales and obviously Geoscience Australia. 

“We’ll have industry speakers and researchers talking about the work that they’re doing in the Curnamona.”

He said the event was a great way for interties parties to exchange important information about mineral exploration in the area. 

“There’s an old saying that if you put five geologists in a room to talk about the geology you’ll end up with six opinions,” said Dr Yeats.

“So it’s a really valuable information sharing exercise and you get lots of different perspectives.

“Obviously explorers have got different perspectives to government, geoscience agencies, and they have different perspectives to researchers. 

“They’ve all got different data sets, they’re all working in different ways, and we’re all working towards that common purpose which is about de-risking exploration and improving exploration discovery rates.”

Deputy Premier John Barilaro, who was in Broken Hill over the weekend for several announcements and events, was also on hand to help kick start this year’s ‘Uncover Curnamona.’

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