Battery Minerals And Energy Storage In The 21st Century

Energy linked to human knowledge

The history of energy creation, generation and use is the history of human evolution, travel, trade and knowledge dissemination. The increase in human knowledge over the past 250 years coupled with the advent of ways to store and use energy locally has led to virtually exponential knowledge growth in the 21st Century.

From the change from charcoal to coal, whale oil to crude oil, the adaption of alternating rather than direct current to power our cities to the current change in energy generation from multiple sources the human race has sought to improve its standard of living and on hand knowledge to advance civilizations and to explore distant lands and planets.

Climate Change and the Energy mix

Currently the proposed energy mix using the Australian Government’s concept of energy security addresses a mix  of ‘non renewable’ (coal, conventional and non-conventional gas, oil, oil shale, nuclear, and  ‘renewable’ energy (wind, hydro, solar, bio fuels, geothermal).  To achieve this mix necessitates adoption of new technologies and ongoing research in methods of energy generation and storage. The touted renewable energy market mix such still  requires the discovery, mining and processing of minerals to create the raw materials for battery manufacture and storage of electricity.  The goal is to create consistent energy to power critical infrastructure and if this is not forthcoming  creates a situation of urban chaos and loss of revenue and in the short term and possible revolution if the situation is not remedied. Currently there is a necessity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to stabilise climate variations globally.  This goal has spawned ‘green’ or ‘renewable’ energy to be added to the energy production mix. This trend to renewable energy  has been championed globally by governments through subsidies to creating an ongoing more liveable urban environments in our growing mega-cities.

The change from total dependence on non-renewable energy sources such as coal and nuclear power has been driven by global debate on climate change and greenhouse gases and the growing pollution and issue of global climate change. There has been a significant cost to the community with rapidly escalating energy prices particularly in areas where there is an almost total reliance on renewable energy such as South Australia.  The important considerations of any major new energy source are:

  1. whether replacement of non-renewable by renewable energy sources creates a net improvement in the current situation.
  2. are the energy inputs to create renewable energy sources more or less than the energy outputs and over what time frame?
  3. what are the ongoing pollution issues caused by the creation of the energy source?
  4. How long does the energy source continue to operate?
  5. As renewable energy sources such as wind and solar do not produce power when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind is ineffective a battery storage system is essential to deliver 24/7/365 energy availability

This rapid change in person use of energy in the past 20 years has been due to the development of personal electronic devices that have the capacity to locally use energy at a remote point source using a battery (mobile phones, computers, GPS systems etc) rather than the need to be connected to a distributing grid to supply the energy.

Energy Storage and use through Lithium and other minerals

The site on types of minerals processed for use in modern battery technology  is instructive in this space.  Rechargeable batteries having a high energy density with multiple recharging for long-term storage is the key.  Lithium-ion batteries are currently the main technology utilised in batteries used for most hand-held devices such as mobile phones and personal computers due to the high levels of energy stored.  Variants of Lithium-ion batteries are used currently in the rapidly expanding electric vehicle (EV) industry.

The site which outlines the properties of lithium-ion batteries  related to their safety of use and issues of long term storage, discharge and charging identifies combinations of chemistry that are relevant to different industrial applications.

Types of Lithium Ion batteries and their use

Battery Uses
Lithium Cobalt Oxide has the highest energy density of current in lithium batteries. Cobalt has a high energy density, but is an expensive metal that displays thermal instability (unsafe) and fast capacity fade (short life) as a cathode material. Portable electronic devices such as mobile phones. The battery characteristics, combined with a low power density, rank other lithium-ion batteries for EV and stationary storage applications
Lithium Manganese Oxide : in this battery, the use of manganese in place of cobalt allows for higher power density and greater thermal stability when compared to Lithium Cobalt Oxide. This battery was once the choice for EV manufacturers However, with a shorter  lifetime, and lower  energy density they are considered less suitable for EVs than Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide batteries
Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide: Nickel, manganese and cobalt oxide improves cathode lifespan. Combining all three results in good performance across all metrics  (energy density, power density, lifespan, and thermal stability Nickel Manganese Cobalt batteries are applicable across many applications, particularly EV’s
Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminium Oxide : These batteries have high power and energy densities, and long shelf life, but degrade more quickly with use than Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide cells. The increased cobalt content improves energy and power density, but also makes cells more expensive and less thermally stable. Competes with Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide for market share in EV power trains.
Lithium Iron Phosphate: Have high thermal stability, long lifespan,  cheap cathode materials and are  obvious choice for use as stationary storage. Due to their  low energy density they are unsuited to EV’s, and manufacturing volumes have not yet reached the point where system costs reflect the low materials costs.
Lithium Titanate nanocrystals here form the anode, and these batteries display unparalleled thermal stability / lifespan. They are expensive when assessed on the basis of energy storage capacity ($/kWh). Their capacity to deliver energy over an extremely short period makes them competitive in high power applications. Low energy density makes them unsuited to EV’s, Project applications include grid frequency regulation and Photovoltaic cells associated with wind farm smoothing

For stationary storage on-grid and off-grid solar storage, Lithium Iron Phosphate and Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide batteries are market leaders. The majority of rest remain with incumbent sealed lead-acid batteries however, and the following parameters should be considered when comparing the two technologies.

Non-rechargeable) lithium batteries possess toxic metallic lithium, however the components of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are much more stable, but require recycling when recharging is not effective. Unfortunately recycling of lithium ion batteries is mostly non-existent and these are commonly disposed in waste dumps and this is an issue to be solved when these batteries reach the end of their life cycle. The creation of large-format lithium-ion batteries in an expanding Electric Vehicles (EV) market and for stationary point storage (eg Tesla Powerwall) will require expansion of recycling options possibly at the origin location of the mega factories that originally produced the batteries.  As a contrast disposal and recycling of lead-acid batteries are much more advanced due to their long residence in the marketplace.

Lithium ion batteries generate considerable heat when being recharged. Thermal runaway is a term that refers to a positive feedback loop that can cause battery swelling, fire and explosion. This occurs due to the catalytic effect of heat released during battery malfunction accelerates the irregular reactions causing the release of excessive heat.

Lithium-ion cells have a high density of energy and this combined with he reactivity of lithium,  the flammability of the organic solvent electrolyte, thermal runaway can be more dangerous than in lead-acid battery cells. Without protection systems in place, the likelihood also tends to be greater and this has occurred in some personal mobile phones.  An exception to this is the thermally-stable LTO batteries.

Practically, manufacture of lithium-ion batteries include systems and safety measures that isolate battery packs when there are conditions of over/under-voltage or over/under-temperature, Cell balancing systems that equalise the standard operating current  of battery cells connected in series, to avoid over/under-voltage conditions such as:

  • Battery fusing to arrest short-circuit currents
  • Thermal management systems to carry heat away from cells via air or liquid cooling

The widespread use of lithium-ion batteries in EV’s is indicative of the effectiveness of these protection systems. In stationary applications, where temperatures are lower and more stable, the likelihood of thermal runaway is reduced even further.  There has been little or no consideration of how to effectively recycle waster products from Li-ion batteries when these reach the end of their effective life cycle.

Countries supplying minerals for batteries

The supply of material for Lithium -ion batteries comes from the sources of the major components of the batteries – lithium, cobalt, nickel, and graphite and these are distributed unevenly in different jurisdictions.


Lithium sources include hard rock mines in particular lithium pegmatites containing spodumene and lithium-rich brines.  The largest global producer of lithium is the Greenbushes Mine in Western Australia that produces lithium from hard rock pegmatite deposits containing spodumene.  The rest of the production is sources from  Li-rich brines in  South America mainly from salt lakes in Argentina and Chile.

Continuing exploration has identified additional lithium resources in 2021 that have increased to total about 86 million tons. United States resources from continental brines, geothermal brines, hectorite, oilfield brines, and pegmatites comprise  7.9 million tons.  Lithium resources by country are Bolivia, 21 million tons; Argentina, 19.3 million tons; Chile, 9.6 million tons; Australia, 6.4 million tons; China, 5.1 million tons; Congo (Kinshasa), 3 million tons; Canada, 2.9 million tons; Germany, 2.7 million tons; Mexico, 1.7 million tons; Czechia, 1.3 million tons; Serbia, 1.2 million tons; Peru, 880,000 tons; Mali, 700,000 tons; Zimbabwe, 500,000 tons; Brazil, 470,000 tons; Spain, 300,000 tons; Portugal,
270,000 tons; Ghana, 90,000 tons; and Austria, Finland, Kazakhstan, and Namibia, 50,000 tons each.
Substitution for lithium compounds is possible in batteries ceramics, greases, and manufactured glass. Examples are calcium, magnesium, mercury, and zinc as anode material in primary batteries; calcium and aluminum soaps as substitutes for stearates in greases; and sodic and potassic fluxes in ceramics and in glass manufacture (USGS).


Most cobalt is sourced as a by-product of Nickel mining, with the largest producer of cobalt  is the Democratic republic of Congo which is a politically unstable region that uses child labour.

The Democratic republic of Congo has the greatest product of cobalt at 95000 tonnes in 2020 and with reserves of 3/6 million tonnes has almost 50 percent of global resources


The Phillipines is the major producer of global nickel and there has recently been restricting access to these deposits. Australia is also a significant producer mainly at this stage from nickel sulphides. There is current development opportunities in Nickel laterites. that have higher grades than the nickel sulphides, sulphide deposits and form surficial deposits with low or zero strip ratios.

Ni-Co Laterites

Increasingly the Extraction of Nickel and Cobalt  is linked to technology studies into extracting this material from Nickel-cobalt (+scandium)  contained in laterite deposits overlying basic igneous intrusions that occur mainly within the tropics.  The technology to extract Nickel and Cobalt in the higher grade Nickel-Cobalt laterite deposits in undergoing a transition to attempt to achive higher recoveries form existing deposits.

The Phillipines is the major producer of global nickel and there has recently been restricting access to these deposits. Australia is also a significant producer mainly at this stage from nickel sulphides, but there is current development opportunities in Nickel laterites.

The United States geological Survey (USGS) has created a  Global Resource Model of Lateritic Ni-Co deposits.  Analyses of how these laterites respond to heap leach has been studied. The cobalt grade in ores was related to the abundance of Mn-oxide phases, but the percentage of Co extracted during leaching did not correlate strongly with the abundance of any particular mineral phases.  Ores with high Ni grades (1.4–2.1 wt%) contained mainly smectite or chlorite, with low abundances of goethite and a variety of poorly crystalline phases.

Three Ni-Co laterite deposit subtypes are recognized within a classical deposit

  • as (I) clay silicate, (II) Mg hydrous silicate, and (III) Fe oxide.
  • Clay Silicate median grade – 1.27 %Ni, 0.06% Co
  • Mg Hydrous Silicate – 1.44%Ni, 0.06% Co
  • Fe Oxide – 1.14%Ni, 0,04%Co

Styles of Nickel Laterite deposits


Type A: – Ni-silicate deposits

Type A Ni-Co laterites

Type B:  Ni-Co laterites (Lateritic Silica Deposits)

itiType B Ni-Co Laterites

Type C : Ni-Co laterites

TYpe C: Ni-Co laterites


Based on the USGS modelling there appears to be a close association of clay and oxide mineral species with grades of Ni and Co in laterite deposits .  Use of this knowledge may suggest an exploration and processing method which may use some of the ideas below.

1.From the drilling of Ni-Co laterite and the zoning and update the model for your deposit as required

2.Undertake testing  of clay and oxide species using the SWIR and Thermal IR using the  hylogger available at government geological surveys in Australia and compare these species  against existing analyses of Ni and Co grades.  From the examples of the different Ni-Co laterite ores it appears that specific mixes of clays, oxides and carbonates give consistent grades.  Hylogger with the SWIR and longer thermal TIR bands will give good correlation of mixes of these minerals that can be compared against the analysed grades of the deposit.

3.Look at other data sets if available such as regional airborne and ground geophysics (particularly radiometrics to determine spatial variations in the surface of the orebody .  Radiometric ratio image  (K, K/Th. K/U) may show surficial variations within a zone of the deposit


Sources of graphite are mainly hard rock derived from metamorphic rocks, with the main source regions are China and eastern Africa (Mozambiue and Madagasga). Australia has significant sources of graphite in South Australia and in North Queensland, but  these have not been developed

Companies that deliver innovative solutions to generation of electricity in the Australian market include combinations of technologies that link solar and pump storage and photovoltaic cells and those that are linked to providing materials for lithium battery technology

With the growth of the electric vehicle industry and creation of Elon Musk’s Gigafactory concept for manufacture of large quantities of these batteries significant growth of extraction of minerals for these batteries is required.  Currently these is no issue with supply of Lithium, graphite and nickel, but with the cobalt supply from the DRC requires a greater source of cobalt and an evolution in  recycling of toxic materials in these batteries.

For any additional information on your projects and details of experience contact me.

Geohistory tourism of the Brisbane CBD

Geohistory tourism of the Brisbane CBD

 Brisbane CBD Geohistory

– 300 million years in the making

The concept of geohistory tourism  for Brisbane’s CBD is linked to its geological history, ecology and human interactions.

This includes:

  1. Geological processes, landscapes and ecology and how these change with time
  2. Plants and animals in geological and human time frames
  3. The traditional local indigenous inhabitants, their life style prior to European settlement
  4. Plants and animals in geological and human time frames
  5. The traditional local indigenous inhabitants, their life style prior to European settlement
  6. The initial setting up of Brisbane city and its effects on local environment and inhabitants
  7. Conflicts between indigenous inhabitants and European settlement
  8. Water resources and sources of building stone in the city
  9. The changing scape of the city
  10. Current and future directions, facilities and walking trails

Sea floor sediments


  • Two Rock Units – The Neranleigh-Fernvale beds (NFB) and the Brisbane Tuff
  • The age of NFB was unknown until 1974 – they were thought to be Pre-Cambrian as no fossils had been discovered.
  • The first fossils found in the South D’Aguilar Sub Province along the Mount Nebo-Mount Glorious road were poorly preserved brachiopods, bryozoa and crinoid. Follow up zircon dating showed an age of 351 Ma from the enclosing sediments. Later radiolarian fossils from cherts at Lake Manchester are Devonian or younger

Rock bodies

The Neranleigh – Fernvale beds were deposited in the deep ocean in the Late Devonian to Early Carboniferous (about 360-320million years ago), were accreted to the continent and underwent deformation from the Late Carboniferous to Early Permian (to about 300 million years before present).  Examples of deformation of these old rocks can be seen in outcrops adjacent to the eastern abutment of the Captain Cook Bridge.

Following that the Brisbane Tuff – a cataclysmic stratovolcanic eruption similar in style to Mount St Helens  (and represented locally by the Kangaroo Point Cliffs) was deposited in deep stream valleys in the Late Triassic (230Ma). An animation of the deposition of the tuff can be seen by downloading the Konect Tourism app from the app store .  Over time these rock bodies were eroded and the landscape become more subdued.  The rock bodies that formed the valleys to the Brisbane Tuff were more susceptible to erosion that the tuff, consequently the current landscape is an inverted landscape with rocks that originally formed the valley are now forming a hill in the landscape.


Mount St Helens Style eruption

The vegetation preserved in fossils in the tuff indicate a wet climate with dinosaurs, seed ferns, and cycads were abundant at the time of the Brisbane Tuff eruption.

The vegetation at the time of the originial aboriginal settlement indicates thick rain forest on the southern bank of the Brisbane River and drier eucalypt forest on the northern bank.

Original local inhabitants and conflicts of colonial settlement

The Turrbal people, according to Tom Petrie (a founding family of modern-day Brisbane,‘Meeaan-jin’), occupied the area of land extending far inland to the Gold Creek or Moggill, as far north as North Pine, and south to the Logan River.

They were fishing people and the Brisbane River and Creeks and swamps around Brisbane were vital food sources. the land, the river and its tributaries were the source and support of life in all its dimensions. . The river’s abundant supply of food included fish, shellfish, crab, and shrimp. Good fishing places became campsites and the focus of group activities with groups of up to 300.

  • The free settlers didn’t recognise local aboriginal ownership and did not compensate the Turrbul and some serious affrays and conflicts ensued.
  • By 1869, many Turrbul had died from gunshot or disease, but the Moreton Bay Courier frequently mentioned local indigenous people working and living in the district.  There was constriction of their movement and the term boundary road reflected the region that local aboriginal were not allowed closer to the CBD.
  • In the1840s to 1860s, the settlement relied increasingly on goods obtained through trade with aboriginals—firewood, fish, crab, shellfish—and services they provided such as water-carrying, tree-cutting, fencing, ring-barking, stock work and ferrying.
  • Since the arrival of Europeans the rate of change in the natural environment has increased dramatically. The district was characterized by open woodlands and rain forest once fringed the Brisbane River and its major tributaries, especially on the broader floodplains such as St. Lucia and Seventeen Mile Rock when land was required in Brisbane for housing and farming trees were felled, creeks (Creek Street), estuaries, gullies and wetlands (e.g Brisbane City Hall) were  filled-in  and local plants and animals were reduced with the introduction of foreign species
  • Exotic plants in many of the creeks of the Brisbane River have substantially changed the aquatic environment.  These include grasses, e.g. para grass (Brachiaria mutica), and green couch (Cynodon dactylon) which reduce free water in stream channels, and flow velocities in the lower reaches of most creeks and Creeks extinguishing native aquatic vegetation.  Floating exotic plants including water hyacinth (Eichornia crassipes), salvinia (Salvinia auriculate) and water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) blanket some reaches. Native aquatic macrophytes have declined, apparently due to dredging, saltation and other disturbances (Arthington et al, 1983).” (Task M2 State of the Brisbane River and Moreton Bay and Waterways – Gutteridge, Haskins & Davey Pty Ltd, p. 6-9 1996). Arthington et al, 1983).
  • Major weeds in the catchment include:
  • Lantana monteuidensis (creeping lantana), Lantana camera (lantana), Baccharis halimfolia (groundsel bush), Celtis sinensis (Chinese elm), Cinnamomum camphora (camphor laurel), Protasparagus africanis (a climbing asparagus), Bryophyllum spp. (mother of millions), Cassia spp. (exotic cassia)
  • Up to 60% of urban bushland remnants suffer from some level of weed invasion, either from human influence (dumping of garden clippings, misguided revegetation) or by natural means (wind blown seeds, dispersal by birds and animals, spread by water) (BCC, 1990).

Brisbane From country town to thriving capital city – short history

  • Earliest water supply from the spring at Spring Hill was stored at the tank at Tank Street, this water supply became polluted fron animal excrement, which caused significant typhoid health problems  in Brisbane
  • 1859 – City of Brisbane established and separation from NSW  and John Petrie became  first mayor
  • First reticulated water supply 1871 and 1882 from Enoggera Creek and stored in tanks on Wickham Terrace and fed by gravity feed into the city. This reticulated water supply fed a local population of more than 50 000 inhabitants from the 1880s.
  • First railway in Brisbane went from Roma Street to Ipswich in 1879.
  • A demonstration of electric lighting of lamp posts along Queen Street in 1882 was the first recorded use of electricity for public purposes in the world.
  • First horse-drawn, then electric trams operated in Brisbane from 1885 until 1969.
  • The first reservoir was built in 1871, and the second in 1882. Both were built primarily of red-brick and mortar, set in-ground. Interiors feature columns and arches between walls for reinforcement. At the time of planning, Spring Hill was considered to be the ideal location for a Brisbane water source, due to its elevation above most of what is now Brisbane City. Water was sourced from Enoggera Dam via gravity feed.
  • Significant historical buildings include the Commissariat Store along Queens Wharf Road, the old Windmill (along Wickham Terrace)  and the Treasury Building (Casino) at the Raddison Plaza
  • The proclamation of the Commonwealth of Australia was read on the first of January, 1901 from the Treasury Building facing William Street.
  • Brisbane was regarded as a country town rather than a major city and McAthur Chambers in Queen Street was the headquarters in World War 2 for Douglas MacArthur the commander of allied forces in the Pacific
  • the long period of control of the Country party by Johannes Bjelke Petersen  (1969-1988) had both positive and negative effects on the city. During his time in office there was a diminution of public right to demonstrate, however despite much controversy there was important infrastructure was constructed eg Wivehoe Dam, but significant public buildings were destroyed by Dean brothers in the name of progress e.g., the Bellevue Hotel and Cloudland.
  • In 1988 the World Expo at the current Southbank site fundamentally changed the concept of dining out in Brisbane
  • In the past 20 years, large complexes of units have been constructed in the CBD and significant student migration of Asian students has been a feature of urban Brisbane
  • Road tunnels have been constructed to reduce traffic congestion and reduce travel times across the CBD.
  • Queens Wharf is the oldest roadway in the city and was constructed to bring material from the first wharf on the northern bank of river at the beginning of colonial settlement.  This roadway  fronts the Commissariat Store.  This area is being renewed as part of a major redevelopment of the inner city.

For any additional information on Geotourism, your projects and details of experience contact me.

Current Geology Projects

Current Geology Projects

Coal and Copper Gold Resources Clermont area

In January and February 2019 I undertook a  consultancy at the margin of the Bowen basin at its contact to the Anakie Inlier.  In this region there are coal resources overlying older deformed  basement rocks of the Inlier, locally intruded by rocks of the Retreat Batholith. The project  included identifying both coal resources and possible mineralisation in the underlying basement.

Clay resources  to service the local Brisbane and south-east Queensland market for bricks

Cranfield Geoservices is a Brisbane based Geological Consultancy  with current projects  focused  to deliver innovative project outcomes for the Exploration and mining industries and Geohistory Tourism.  Over the past  50 years in the Minerals and Energy industry there has been a massive change in the use of technology in this industry with innovative integration of remote sensing and geophysics data sets with data from traditional techniques of geological mapping such as aircore, rock chip and diamond drilling.  This has allowed the discovery and targeting of buried mineral deposits and has identified basement below sedimentary basins in Australia of interest to future explorers.

Light burning clays in southeast Queensland have been utilised for brick making .  Much of the resource has been affected by Cainozoic deep weathering (lateritisation)  that has created a range of suitable clay types. Queensland Globe ( gives a series of links to key geological maps and reports that cover a range of resources from industrial minerals to precious metals.

A current project is the search for industrial minerals in southeast Queensland.  The  greater demands for high quality clay products with  specific properties in this part of the industry requires an integration of additional data sets in particular land parcel size and land tenure and the availability of current and future energy infrastructure and  road corridors to bring products to market.


Project Management Styles

Cranfield Geosevices identifies the style of project and program management appropriate for client demand and documentation.  For short term projects project management is usually an internal process managed by Cranfield Geoservices based on agreed terms of reference for the project with the client.  Agreement with a client identifies staged project outcomes based on delivery of different aspects of the project as either simply outlined in an Excel spreadsheet with identified possible road blocks or delays to  the work flow based on lack of critical data or other issues.

In larger projects there is commonly a more formal project management structure based on more detailed project management  documentation of agreed outcomes and payment using project management software as required by the client.  If these schedules require input of information and resources by the client these are clearly identified at the commencement of the project to avoid any misconception by both parties.

For any additional information on styles of management for your projects and details of my experience contact me.


Geological Mapping Projects

Geological Mapping Projects

Data sets to be used for interpretation in mapping projects

Cranfield Geoservices (CGSI) uses all available data and knowledge to create or update geological maps and integrate an updated understanding of the regional structure and geological evolution into local prospects.  A comprehensive understanding of how airborne geophysical and remotely sensed imagery enhance interpretation of the local geology is vital in designing your exploration program.

Airborne Surveys for geological mapping use both radiometric and magnetic imagery. Radiometric surveys measure gamma rays which are continuously being emitted from the Earth by natural decomposition of some common radiogenic minerals. The use of radiometric imagery to distinguish differences in rock chemistry between and within geological units has been applied most extensively for granitic rocks, but it is gaining in acceptance to use to distinguish chemical difference including:

  • Exploration for a range of uranium deposits.
  • Special applications such as exploration for diamonds by assisting in location of kimberlite.
  • Porphyry copper  deposits particularly in zones of potassic alteration
  • Exploration for gold using the Au-U association in specific localities.
  • Exploration for radioactive halos over hydrocarbon deposits.

Subsurface geophysical techniques for creating a solid geology map and underlying resources  (ie on of an interpreted geology below the surface include:-

  • Magnetic surveys – which measure variations in the Earth’s magnetic field due to the presence of magnetic minerals. Subtle changes to these minerals are used to interpret rock types and assist in identifying resources. These surveys can be aerial, on the surface or in down-hole logging tools. Magnetic surveys are commonly used in  mineral exploration.
  •  Gravity surveys – include both ground and airborne surveys.  The instrumentation identifies variations in rock density in the Earth’s crust. These surveys are commonly used in conjunction with magnetic surveys to locate regions of higher density that may correlated with economic mineralization.
  •  Induced Polarisation (IP)  surveys  induce an electric field in the ground and measure the chargeability and resistivity of the subsurface to locate changes in the electric currents due to variations caused by rocks and minerals.
  • Electromagnetic (EM) surveys create an induced electromagnetic field and measure the three dimensional variations in conductivity (capacity to conduct electricity) within the near-surface soil and rock. Uses include  the location metallic minerals,and to understand groundwater and salinity. In the case  of groundwater salinity there is a capacity to model the salinity at different depths.


For any additional information on your projects and details of experience contact me.

Basin Analyses Integration

Basin analyses – data integration

High level basin analyses must consider the information gained from all public open file data available online and the use of the most recent company data as required to interpret and solve local anomalies .  The following discussion looks at the publicly available data to undertake an analysis of Queensland’s basins.  Each data set tells us something about the underlying rocks, but a results from interpretation of a single data set is not always directly applicable  to the results of interpretation of another.  A linking flow chart of the information from each data set to a final interpretation may allow a more comprehensive understanding for each basin. The sequence of using data sets is always from a regional concept (1:250 000 to 1:100 000 scale)  to the detailed exploration project (<1:10,000 scale), and it is important to understand the geology at all scales using the appropriate technique for each scaling parameter.

Queensland Resources

The location of major mineral and energy resources of the state is given on a state-wide basis by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines (qld-resources-map (1))

The Late Palaeozoic to Mesozoic basins of Queensland have been extensively drilled particularly for energy resources (coal, oil and gas), but much of the mapping dates back to the 1960s and 1970s.  Linking the outcropping geology to the subsurface information delivers a holistic three dimensional view of these basins.

Much of Queensland has been flown by airborne geophysics and this data set has not been used extensively to update the detailed geology of these basins.  To maximise the potential of these basins it is important that all this data is used to update the interpretation of these economic basins.

This requires integration of available data sets and the solving of anomalies in interpretation locally and regionally.  The variation in the type of data and the scale of the information poses a range of issues in data integration.  Concepts of geology have been modified from the early mapping of the basin areas with updates to knowledge from sequence stratigraphy, chronstratigraphy and lithostratigraphy.

To generate a comprehensive interpretation of these basins requires an integrated approach by government and industry data to deliver a three dimensional basin concept to maximise knowledge of energy resources within basins and potential mineral resources at the margins of these basins.

Large Publicly available data sets that can be integrated with your project

A major  coverage publicly available source of data is the geophysical data coverage of Queensland.  A major significant coverage of  data is Geophysical Data coverage.  

Major subsets of this data are the 2D and 3D seismic lines mainly completed by exploration companies, deep crustal seismic, magnetotellurics, gravity and regional airborne geophysics completed by the state and commonwealth governments, and drill hole data completed by exploration companies and the state and commonwealth governments. These coverages are depicted below. Data was extracted from the DNRM website in March 2018.

Seismic data coverage (March, 2018)

Seismic data Queensland

The seismic data coverage is mainly concentrated in the southwest corner and the southern central part of the state associated with oil and gas in the Cooper and Surat Basins. Combinations of drilling, geological mapping and seismic data could be integrated to solve local interpretation  anomalies. The 2D and 3D seismic is applicable for the subsurface data and linking to detailed drill hole interpretation of the stratigraphy.

Deep Crustal Seismic and Magnetotelluric surveys (March 2018)

At the margins of mineralised provinces in north Queensland  deep crustal seismic reflection surveys have been completed.  These surveys use the  structural and petrophysical properties of rock bodies to create a depth profile  of the geology. The acquired data (in conjunction with rock properties and geophysical data) is enabling a much better understanding of the geology and mineral potential of northern Queensland.  It allows the imaging of deep regions of basinal areas and can pick older basinal straigraphy and structural disconformities at a significant depth.

Magnetotellurics (MT) was used along the same lines as the deep crustal seismic surveys. These currents are influenced by rock properties such as type, porosity, permeability and temperature. MT is an electromagnetic technique that measures naturally occurring electric (telluric) currents induced by variations in Earth’s magnetic field.  These techniques were implemented  to image the conductivity of Earth’s crust to similar depths as attained by the deep crustal surveys.

The extent of the magentotellurics surveys is given below.

magnetotellurics north Queensland

Airborne Geophysical Data Coverage (March, 2018)

Magnetics radiometrics Queensland

The airborne geophysical data coverage is extensive with only the south-east corner, the northern tropical coast and an area in the central part of the state with no coverage. the south-east has flight restrictions around the major Brisbane and Cooloongatta airports and the northern  coast World Heritage tropical rain forest areas are unlikely to be covered by data. Integration of the radiometrics and magnetic data captured by this technique can improve the interpretation of stratigraphic contacts between basin units and show the magnetic (airborne magnetics) and non-magnetic (radiometics) fault features and the features of buried magnetic stratigraphy and igneous rock bodies (magnetics).  This technique is particularly useful to update geological mapping interpretation derived solely from the use of aerial photographic interpretation over sedimentary basins from scales of 1:250 000 to 1:100 000.

Gravity Data over Queensland (March, 2018)

Gravity data detects variation in the density of rock bodies and is appropriate technique to assist in the location of mineral deposits that have a higher density than the surrounding rock bodies.

Gravity Queensland

GSQ has completed  regional gravity surveys with a station spacing that is equal to or less than 4km. The collected data was incorporated into the National Gravity Database.

Drilling Database Queensland  (March 2018)

DNRM has major drilling data over the state derived from departmental and exploration drilling for water, stratigraphic interpretation and energy exploration and this can be downloaded from databases available online.  Departmental custodians of this data that keep the information current in line with legislative controls of data delivery and public availability.  To solve local issue requires access to other and more current company exploratory drilling. The use of drilling data with extensive seismic data can generate a 3D picture of large basin areas and identify the likely presence of fluids in these basins.  This can be accompanied by local knowledge on specific products.

For any additional information on your projects and details of experience contact me.