The first release today of Western Australia's geochemical maps is tipped to stimulate an increase in mineral exploration in the State.
Mines Minister George Cash said the geochemical mapping program by the Department of Minerals and Energy resulted from detailed consultation with industry and academia and a commitment by the Government to double the real value of the mineral and petroleum production in WA.
"These geochemical maps are part of the plan to encourage more exploration into this State," Mr Cash said.
"This Government has demonstrated its support by allocating $3.75 million to the project over three years."
Geochemical mapping involves the systematic collection and analysis of surface samples for 48 rare and major elements, including gold, copper, nickel and cobalt.
Samples are taken from soils, streams and lake sediments at approximately one every 16 square kilometres and results are available in map and digital form.
The Minister said the maps would be used to help industry identify mineral rich provinces and areas with potential for undiscovered mineralisation. They could also assist identify rock types and assemblages and would provide valuable information to help monitor the impact of human activity on the environment.
"The Government's objective is to provide the framework and services which will assist explorers seek out enormous wealth lying below the surface throughout the State," he said.
The first series of maps ready for release cover the Menzies region, a district historically rich in gold.
The Menzies map series is the forerunner of several such mapping projects to be undertaken throughout WA, which include the Eastern Goldfields, Glengarry Basin and the Gascoyne.
More information about the geochemical maps, which cost $100 per package, is available from the Department of Minerals and Energy.
Media contact: Mark Thompson 222 9595