New Economy Mineral Systems in the NW Mineral Province, Queensland: Metal Sources, IOCG-Porphyry Associations and Heavy Rare Earth Breccias 


The Northwest Mineral Province of  Mount Isa Block, is highly prospective for a wide range of elements (Cu, Au, PGEs, Ni, Co, Ag, Mo, Re, REEs, Y, Sc, W, Th and U).  However, it is still comparatively poorly explored, with very few new discoveries.  This is due to uncertainty regarding the source of metals and the nature of mineral systems. It is also due to the fact that basement rocks in the east are obscured by Mesozoic cover. These constraints have strongly influenced geochemical and geophysical exploration strategies.

By integrating existing and new exploration data, a revised the exploration paradigm has been developed. Mineral systems appear to have largely been associated with and bracketed by Palaeoproterozic (1730 Ma) and Mesoproterozoic (~1530 - ~1500 Ma) intraplate magmatism that caused break-up of Columbia. Styles of mineralisation related to these mantle upwelling events and contemporaneous arc magmatism, in addition to IOCGs, include Cu-Au and Cu-Au-Pd alkaline porphyries,  as well as high-crustal level Au-Pd rich epithermal systems. Many prospects are anomalous in new economy metals, including HREE-Co-Sc-Au-W.  The geodynamic setting likely resembled northern Chile, where Cu-Au porphyries and IOCGs are spatially and temporally associated.


Ken Collerson is an Emeritus Professor in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at UQ, a Principal at KDC Consulting, and a Director of Transition Resources. Prior to appointment at Head of Earth Sciences at UQ he was Professor of Geochemistry at the University of California in Santa Cruz.  Ken is an internationally recognised geoscientist whose research has provided a basis for predictive mineral system exploration. He is a specialist in exploration for technology (HREE, Sc) and battery (Li, Co Mn) metals, as well as PGEs and alkaline-hosted Au-Cu porphyry systems.  His use of spinifex biogeochemistry to explore under cover in western Queensland resulted in the recent discovery of a 2000 km long plume generated Silurian to Devonian age mineral province (Diamantina Province) that extends from NSW to the Northern Territory. 


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