Minerals Geoscience

Microscopic view of a polished thin section
Microscopic view of a polished thin section showing carbonate replacing quartz in a banded iron-formation under cross-polarized light
Macroscopic view of a half drillcore showing jasper
Macroscopic view of a half drillcore showing jasper replacement of silica-rich laminae in banded iron-information, quartz veining and minor pyrite

The Minerals Geoscience section studies mineral systems (geologic factors that control the generation and preservation of mineral deposits) on both an observational and theoretical basis. It aims to provide timely and relevant data, information and knowledge to the mineral exploration industry, investors, researchers and government.

Current work focuses on the critical minerals and battery metals needed to make the transition to a clean energy economy. Commodities such as manganese, vanadium, lithium, nickel, cobalt and rare earth elements need to be produced in much larger quantities to sustain the global energy transition. Although Western Australia is already a significant producer of lithium, nickel, cobalt and many other critical minerals, there is a need, and the potential, for, more discoveries in the State.

Mineral Systems Atlas

To help explorers with regional-scale targeting, the Mineral Systems Atlas (MSA) provides exploration-relevant spatial data in a logical conceptual framework. The MSA is a work in progress, with additional mineral systems and information within each system to be added when available. Each mineral system is explained in more detail through an online Guide and a standalone Record publication, with an emphasis on the critical processes and associated mappable proxies needed to form potentially economic mineralisation. Experts in each system are consulted and, increasingly, broader industry stakeholder input is also obtained.

These resources provide a useful synopsis of current knowledge for explorers, students and researchers alike. Links to download the digital datasets and associated documentation are provided. Find useful spatial information to accompany the MSA in GeoVIEW.WA. Download digital data and much more from both platforms via the DMIRS Data and Software Centre.

An update to the MSA
An update to the MSA, summarizing its logic and content
A screenshot from the MSA Guide
A screenshot from the MSA Guide providing details on the MnO wt% maximum grade raster in the MSA

Collaborative research

The team collaborates with other sections within the division and other government and academic institutions to leverage output through joint research initiatives. These include deposit- to district-scale mineralisation studies (involving mapping, drillcore logging, hyperspectral analysis, whole-rock geochemistry, geochronology, isotopes, fluid inclusions, microprobe / TIMA-based mineral chemistry studies and other techniques). From these studies, we can better understand and constrain the temporal evolution of mineralising events, the distal footprints of mineral systems, and gain an insight into other mappable controls on mineralisation.

Information collected from all sources, including other State and Commonwealth agencies, industry stakeholders and from participation in external events, helps us to keep abreast of industry trends and to shape our research and promotional activities.

Drone survey of opencut at Tampia gold mine
Drone survey of opencut at Tampia gold mine
An MSA workshop
An MSA workshop with both internal and external stakeholders


The Geological Survey of Western Australia (GSWA) LinkedIn page is the best place to discover new products and to be informed of current activities. Further information is provided in GSWA’s quarterly Fieldnotes newsletter. Sign up to the GSWA eNewsletter to get copies sent straight to your inbox.

Publications are available as free downloads from the eBookshop, under the heading ‘Book series – Records or Reports’ with promotional material under ‘Posters and flyers’. The team also publishes USB data packages that can be purchased via the eBookshop. Links to important publications released over the last decade are provided below.


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