Western Australia and China forge lasting scientific links

DMIRS hosts Chinese geoscientists in reciprocal exchange arrangement
Date: Friday, 06 July 2018

The spirit of cooperation continues to play a strong role in strengthening relations between Chinese and Western Australian geoscientists.

As part of an ongoing partnership under Memoranda of Understanding (MoU), the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) hosted three geoscientists from the Xi-an Centre of the China Geological Survey (CGS) in Shaanxi Province for a month during May and June this year.

“Our CGS colleagues are active in mineral deposit studies and they worked with us on studies of nickel mineralisation in the Eastern Goldfields,” Geoscience Minerals Manager Trevor Beardsmore said.

“We are in the second year of a three-year project with CGS that involves cooperative research on nickel sulphide mineral systems in China and Western Australia.

“Our aim is to better understand their origin and therefore improve the chance of discovering new deposits.”

Dr Beardsmore said that geoscientists from DMIRS’ Geoscience Resource Strategy Division (GRSD) would make a four-week reciprocal visit to China during July and August to work with their Chinese colleagues on studies of nickel deposits in their country.

“The China trip will include field visits to the giant, newly-discovered Jinchuan and Xiarihamu nickel deposits to sample the host intrusions and collect samples for age dating and chemical analysis,” he said.

“The DMIRS visit will also include a visit to the Physical Geological Data Center of the CGS in Langfang to log and sample drill core from the Xiarihamu deposit.”

Dr Beardsmore said that DMIRS geophysicists were looking forward to the mutual exchange of minerals geoscience knowledge through workshops and seminars with CGS geoscientists.

Meetings in Beijing between senior DMIRS and CGS managers will discuss the future development of their collaboration.

The visit this year by geoscientists from China is the second hosted by DMIRS.

The first visit in October 2017 was by a six-person team, which included senior CGS managers from Xi’an and Beijing.

Two of the geoscientists from Xi’an stayed on in Western Australia for a month to take part in field reconnaissance of selected nickel and lithium deposits, and technical training workshops.

This year, three Xi’an Centre geoscientists worked with DMIRS staff to collect and evaluate geological data for a significant, potentially nickel-mineralised tract of the far-eastern Goldfields of the Yilgarn Craton.

“This region has few known nickel deposits, but has potentially prospective geology,” DMIRS Project Leader Lauren Burley said.

“Reciprocal work in China will focus on studies of nickel sulphide deposits in Northwest China and the East Kunlun orogenic belt.”

Ms Burley said that the projects followed on from a similar three-year program between the geological mapping divisions of DMIRS and CGS.

Western Australia and China forge lasting scientific links
Meeting the Minister: From left, Mr Yalei Wang, Mines and Petroleum Bill Johnston, Dr Yongbao Gao, DMIRS geologist Lauren Burley, DMIRS Geoscience Minerals Manager Dr Trevor Beardsmore, Mr Bing Qian

“The current projects includes more geological mapping, tectonic analysis, mineral system studies, geochronology and isotope geology, and the interpretation of regional geophysical and geochemical datasets,” she said.

Visit to Minister for Mines and Petroleum

Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston, who met the Chinese geophysicists before they returned home, said that the China Geological Survey was playing a critical role in approving overseas investment by Chinese resource companies

“As Western Australia’s Minister for Asian Engagement, I am very pleased that the strong partnership between DMIRS and CGS continues to reaffirm the ties between China and Western Australia,” the Minister said.

“The MoUs in place between us on geoscience and policy and trade involve deep engagement between Western Australian and Chinese public servants that assists bilateral investment and trade.”

Mr Johnston said that the collaborative projects were strengthening ties between Western Australia and China, and encouraging the mutually beneficial exchange of geological knowledge that would improve the ability of mineral explorers in both jurisdictions to discover and develop significant deposits.

“The McGowan Government is determined to diversify our State’s economy and that means growing our relationship with China,” he said.