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What Exploration Opportunities Exist in Australia’s Edmund Basin?
As more emerging exploration companies and investors catch wind of this impressive mining jurisdiction, the Edmund Basin could become a hot spot for high-quality mineralisation and commodities like precious and base metals.
Australia is often known for sunny skies and big waves across its golden coast. However, the country has always been an understated gem in mining for some of the world’s most sought-after commodities.
Silver, gold and high-demand base metals can be found across the continent, with high concentrations in the country’s western regions.
One of these emerging prospects is the Edmund Basin in Western Australia. Underexplored and situated in a highly attractive jurisdiction for mining, the basin presents potential for base and precious metals mineralisation and widespread discoveries for early movers who take advantage of Australia’s next big mining exploration site.
The mining history of the Edmund Basin
Australia stands as the world’s largest producer of lithium and a global producer of gold, iron ore, lead, zinc and nickel. According to the International Trade Administration, one-third of its mines are located in Western Australia, with more than 350 currently in operation country wide. As an up-and-coming mining jurisdiction, the Edmund Basin leverages high-quality mineralisation and economic potential that has been demonstrated by many other geographical prospects surrounding the landform.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the basement rocks of Western Australia's Gascoyne region and the overlying sedimentary rocks of the Edmund Basin and neighbouring Collier Basin were first systematically mapped by the Geological Survey of Western Australia. This program produced 1:250,000 scale maps, explanatory notes and a number of early reports outlining the protracted tectonic history of this part of the Orogen.
Other significant mappings and exploration campaigns have outlined the basin’s half-graben architecture, which was formed by the normal reactivation of older basement faults and sutures during the latter part of the Mangaroon Orogeny. According to the most recent profiling programs, the Edmund Basin and the Collier Basin have geological structures and rock formation styles that have been divided into six informal depositional packages, each defined by basal unconformities or major marine flooding surfaces.
Despite extensive mapping and geological surveying, the Edmund Basin remains underexplored and ready for discovery.
Mineral resources and major players in the Edmund Basin
The Edmund Basin contains a wide range of mineral occurrences — including supergene manganese, lead, gold and phosphate — many of which have been associated with major crustal-scale faults.
The basin hosts Western Australia's largest strata-bound lead-gold-copper-silver deposit, the Abra lead-silver mine, which entered production at the beginning of 2023. The newest mineral resource estimate for Abra, updated in July 2023, shows total resources of 33.4 million tonnes containing 7.1 percent lead and 17 grams per tonne silver.
The new mine is wholly owned by Abra Mining, a 60/40 joint venture between major Australian mining player Galena Mining (ASX:G1A) and Toho Zinc (TSE:5707), a leading producer of lead in Japan. Galena Mining has successfully leveraged the low-risk, tier one jurisdiction status of the area to develop its flagship Abra base metals project into a producing mine that is now ramping up towards a steady state level of 1.3 million tonnes of ore milled per year, with planning underway to reach 1.5 million tonnes per year. The company also has the Jillawarra project next to Abra.
Another player taking advantage of the Edmund Basin’s underexplored history and mineral resources is Bellavista Resources (ASX:BVR), an emerging mineral exploration company with a large tenement holding in the basin that includes its flagship Brumby polymetallic project, the Vernon base metals project, the Vernon and Gorge Creek nickel-platinum-group-metals projects and the East Abra project.
Changing tides for Edmund Basin exploration
The uniquely varied geological and structural makeup of Edmund and the adjacent Collier Basin has posed some challenges in discovery and exploration in the past. Reactivated basement structures, basin inversion by reverse transpression and deformations all point to interesting mineralised profiles, but without the tools to explore these characteristics more extensively, the packages of the Edmund Basin remain relevantly untouched.
Luckily, advancements in mining technology, surveying and mapping have led to significant strides in discovery, development and exploration capabilities. Research and technology companies like the Australian Centre for Field Robotics have introduced advanced gradiometer technology, robotics, 3D imaging and automated drilling, which can be used to get to the core of underexplored regions. With mining companies and technology giants collaborating, the sky’s the limit for highly prospective regions like Edmund Basin and assets like the Abra base metals mine.
As more emerging exploration companies and investors catch wind of this impressive mining jurisdiction, the Edmund Basin could become a hot spot for high-quality mineralisation and commodities like precious and base metals. Investors should look to first movers like Galena Mining to see why Edmund Basin presents exploration opportunities unique to the Gold Coast.
The Edmund Basin in Western Australia sits amongst some of the world’s most abundant base and precious metals prospects and operating mines, but remains underexplored. Galena Mining's Abra mine is evidence of the early mover advantage in exploring such a highly prospective region. With advancements in mining technology and good mapping and geological research already established in the area, investors and exploration companies could see very positive mining and exploration opportunities across the Edmund Basin.
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