A geological paradigm shift is in the air as a company focused on new economy metals in North West Queensland is pioneering a new mineral system model (MSM) for the Cloncurry Belt.
This new insight is transforming previously overlooked tenements into fertile discovery opportunities, according to Transition Resources founder David Wilson.
“The MSM was validated by Transition’s discovery in 2019 of the Highway Au-W-REE rich mineral system,” he said.
“It is potentially a game changer for the Cloncurry district that could open the region to a new economy metal focus through the application of new exploration methodologies.”
Transition Resources is an unlisted private explorer, founded in 2017.
It holds about 1040sq km of prospective ground east and west of Cloncurry, including some of the most densely mineralised and historically worked areas of the district.
The company is targeting battery metals (cobalt, copper and nickel), and technology metals (tungsten, scandium, yttrium, rare earth elements – particularly heavy rare earths) as well as precious metals such as gold, platinum and palladium.
“Transition acquired its tenements with the view to re-evaluating the accepted mineral system model for the Cloncurry district,” Mr Wilson said.
“This approach was driven in no small part by the potential significance of extreme cobalt enrichment at the Success (cobalt) mine located within the tenements. This enrichment is not explained by current models.”
Transition’s management believes explorers in the Cloncurry and Mount Isa mineral belts have relied too heavily on exploration methodologies that have persisted for decades.
Mr Wilson said the decline in discovery of new orebodies during this period, to a large extent, possibly reflected the adherence to a deficient exploration model.
His company engaged new economy metals expert Professor Ken Collerson, whose alternative views on regional metal endowment aligned with Transition’s.
“Subsequent to his initial investigations, Professor Collerson joined Transition as director of Tier One Exploration Strategy,” Mr Wilson said.
“Professor Collerson is an authority on rare earth elements (REE) and technology metal mineralisation, shoshonite-hosted epithermal gold-silver (PGM) systems and application of biogeochemistry to define exploration targets.
“Through Professor Collerson’s expert contribution, Transition is developing a new mineral system model for the Cloncurry Belt that challenges existing crustal and metallogenic models and is leading a paradigm shift.
“By re-evaluating the accepted regional geological model and providing an alternative explanation for the source of metals, new exploration methodologies can be developed and tested, leading to new discoveries.”
Transition believes the new economy metals within its tenements are derived from a common deep and regionally extensive source.
Mr Wilson said Transition’s exploration program included high-resolution drone reconnaissance, specific assessment of surface geochemistry and processes unique to the company that include the use of element specific biogeochemical studies of plant species.
“The discovery of the Highway Au-W-REE rich mineral system occurred both prior to and as part of the development of the MSM, through a combination of regional-scale modelling and prospect-scale proprietary methods,” he said.
“The Highway discovery is a perfect example of merging the benefits of new earth science theory, modern exploration methods, and traditional (granular) field prospecting.”