One of Western Australia's historic gold mining regions will again be put under the mineral microscope with the release of new scientific data.
Mines Minister George Cash said exploration activity for a range of minerals in the Peak Hill area, north of Meekatharra, could be boosted with the latest geoscientific mapping information.
Mr Cash said geochemical mapping by the Department of Minerals and Energy was designed to highlight potential untapped reserves of minerals by the use of aerial photographs, satellite images and rock samples.
"Western Australia is internationally recognised as a great mineral province, and this process of geoscientific mapping is proof the State still has plenty to offer for mineral and petroleum exploration," he said.
"This up-to-date technical information enhances the private sector's assessment of WA's mineral resources and underlines the fact that its vast geological potential is far from being fully defined."
Mr Cash said Peak Hill was best known for gold mining, but the latest geoscientific data indicates potential for other minerals including platinum, palladium and copper.
"The region is geologically complex and has not been as extensively explored as the State's premier goldfields district around Kalgoorlie," he said.
Mr Cash said the geochemical mapping around Peak Hill was part of an ongoing regional scientific mapping program which was initiated by the Coalition Government in 1993-94.
He said the Department of Minerals and Energy geological survey was systematically compiling information on regolith (mineral and rock surface material that covers unweathered bedrock) and geochemical maps targeting prospective areas throughout the State.
"An understanding of these materials, including their formation process and relationship to underlying geology, is of vital importance for the discovery of new mineral deposits," Mr Cash said.
"It also provides valuable information for the State's agricultural and pastoral industries."
The new geoscientific maps and explanatory notes covering the Peak Hill area include: regolith materials, geochemical data and locations, geological traits from field and laboratory work, interpretations from aerial photographs and satellite images and information from open-file material exploration and tenement databases.
Regolith and geochemical maps and information packages covering the Leonora and Menzies areas in the north eastern Goldfields area are already available and the next release, due in December, will cover the Glengarry region.
Geoscientific mapping and information is available from the Mining Information Centre at the Department of Minerals and Energy, Minerals House, 100 Plain Street, East Perth.
Media contact: Mark Thompson 222 9595