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New ARC-funded research uses new tool to examine world’s oldest rocks

Media release

Curtin University researchers will develop a new fingerprinting tool capable of delving deeper into the Earth’s rock layers, in what promises to be an important development for Australia’s mining and petroleum sectors.

The research will enhance industry’s understanding of the Earth’s sedimentary rocks by investigating case studies at the Yilgarn Craton, Australia’s premier gold and nickel province spanning from Meekatharra to WA’s South-West including Kalgoorlie, as well as the Canning Basin, located in the Kimberley, and the Northern Carnarvon Basin.

The project secured $352,000 from the Australian Research Council’s Linkage Project scheme as part of the latest funding announcement made by the Federal Minister for Education, the Hon. Dan Tehan, today.

Curtin University Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Garry Allison said the research had potentially important implications for the mining and petroleum sectors.

“Western Australia’s mineral and petroleum exports are major contributors to the Australian economy, but in recent years the number of significant discoveries has fallen and those that have been identified tend to be at greater depths,” Professor Allison said.

“This new research will develop a new fingerprinting tool capable of shedding more light on some of the world’s oldest rocks with the aim of helping Australian mining and petroleum explorers to uncover major new mineral and hydrocarbon deposits.”

The state-wide isotope-based research project will be led by Associate Professor Chris Kirkland and Professor Chris Elders, both from the School of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Curtin University.

Curtin University researchers will work with Northern Star Resources and the Geological Survey of Western Australia, within the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, on the project.

As part of the latest round of ARC grants announced today, Curtin University researchers will also work on an international project, led by The University of Western Australia, that will test and review the success of teaching Einstein’s theories of space, time, matter, light and gravity. That project was awarded $898,560 in ARC funding.

For more information about the latest ARC Linkage Projects, visit here.