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Zeroing in on Australia's onshore energy and minerals.

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Media Release The Hon Bob Baldwin, MP

2 March 2007


A greater understanding of Australia’s onshore energy and mineral potential will be obtained through a new sampling program announced today by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry Tourism and Resources, Bob Baldwin.

The National Geochemical Survey of Australia (NGSA) project is part of the $59 million onshore component of the Australian Government's Energy Security Initiative to attract investment in onshore petroleum and geothermal energy as well as uranium and thorium exploration.

"The survey, which will be carried out in conjunction with the States and the Northern Territory, will sample surface and near-surface materials from about 1,600 sites around Australia, to give scientists a clear picture of the geochemical makeup of those catchments" Mr Baldwin said.

The NGSA project follows collaborative pilot studies by Geoscience Australia and the Cooperative Research Centre for Landscape Environments and Mineral Exploration (CRC LEME) in the Riverina area of New South Wales and Victoria, the New South Wales part of the Thomson Orogen and the Gawler region of South Australia.

The pilot surveys provided valuable information on the presence of minerals in each area, with the Riverina survey delivering consistent data on the concentrations of 62 elements, including uranium and thorium.

The fine grained and well mixed sediments sampled during these pilot studies were deposited on floodplains when heavy rain mobilised material from throughout the catchment. The receding rivers left archives of material which have been undisturbed by normal river flows.

Mr Baldwin said the methodology developed by Geoscience Australia and the CRCLEME during the pilot studies can help to identify new uranium rich provinces and, together with other elements, define areas endowed with hot granites for potential geothermal energy sources.

"The planned survey will not only assist with expanding our knowledge about potential energy sources such as uranium and geothermal heat from hot rocks, it will pave the way also for new mineral discoveries," Mr Baldwin said.

Media contacts: Bob Baldwin 0419 694 620 Jaimie Abbott 0417 490 821