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Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety

The Mineral Systems Atlas is an interactive GIS-based platform that collates and delivers map-based geoscience data layers filtered to be specifically relevant to understanding and exploring for mineral deposits in Western Australia. Atlas content is systematically defined by applying the mineral systems concept advocated by Wyborn et al. (1994) and McCuaig et al. (2010). The premise of this concept is that mineral deposits will only form and remain preserved where there has been a spatial and temporal coincidence of critical earth processes (geodynamic setting, lithosphere architecture, fluid, ligand and ore component reservoir(s), fluid flow drivers and pathways, depositional mechanisms, post-depositional processes), and that the occurrence of these critical processes might be recognized from mappable geological features expected to result from them. It is these geological features (ʻtargeting elements’ or ʻgeological proxies’) that can be extracted as digital map layers from geoscience datasets, and may be used in GIS-based prospectivity studies.

The Mineral Systems Atlas is continually being added to and updated, with the layers being regenerated every weekend. The modular and hierarchical design of its online platform and user guide will readily permit the addition of new mineral systems and new geological proxy layers as these progressively become available. Users are encouraged to learn about the latest releases of data/layers, and other additions to the Atlas, by viewing the What's New? information in the interface and the Guide.

Different mineral systems (Fraser et al., 2007) are analysed to define the mappable geological proxies for critical mineralizing processes. Such analyses draw on in-house knowledge, existing literature, and collaborations with subject-matter experts. Structured queries are then used to extract relevant data from one or more statewide GSWA geoscience databases, for those proxies that can be practicably produced. These queries operate directly on, and are dynamically linked to, primary GSWA geoscience data sources. No new data are acquired or created, although some information may be reformatted to meet the internal requirements of particular map layers. Furthermore, the queries are scheduled to automatically update the derived proxy map layers whenever new data are added to the primary databases. Users may therefore be confident that the data layers portrayed in the Mineral Systems Atlas are always current.

Mappable proxies are delivered at a statewide scale via the online Atlas interface, which is deliberately designed using the HTML5-based version of GeoCortex® to emulate the functional look and feel of GSWA’s GeoVIEW.WA. The Atlas categorizes map layers by groups of geodynamically related mineral systems (based on Fraser et al., 2007), or alternatively by commodity groups (as defined in GSWA’s MINEDEX database), and allows users to view, select and download only those data sets they require. Downloadable data layers are formatted for compatibility with ArcGIS, MapInfo and QGIS.

Advanced functionality

  • Mineral Systems Atlas Guide – Opens the Mineral Systems Atlas Guide (where all related documentation is stored).
  • Download Individual Mineral Systems – All layers associated with any mineral system are available as packages to download in ArcGIS and MapInfo file formats.
  • Same area in GeoVIEW.WA – Opens approximately the same viewing extent of the Atlas in GeoVIEW.WA, allowing users to operate both systems at the same time.
  • Upload Data – Users can upload their own data in the following formats: .csv, .xlsx, .kml, .shp, .gpx, or a .zip containing a FileGDB or shapefiles.
  • Refine Data – Provides search and filter options to further interrogate layers of interest.

An integral component of the Mineral Systems Atlas is the online guide that documents all aspects of the creation of the constituent map layers, and the relationships between primary and derived data. The Guide provides descriptions of current metallogenic models for each mineral system, the results of the mineral systems analyses to define the potentially mappable geological proxies, and procedures used to generate these layers. Included are query syntax, and data dictionaries listing the terms used in specific queries to identify particular geological features in GSWA databases, so that users may adapt and apply the data extraction methodology to their own working environment and proprietary data.

The Atlas layers are regenerated every weekend.

A log of additions made to the Mineral Systems Atlas and their release date is provided below:

Release date: October 2022

Systems Added

  • Manganese
  • Evaporite brine related potash

Layers Added


  • State regolith geology
  • Operating mines--Manganese
  • Mineralization sites--Manganese by type
  • Mineralization sites--Manganese by commodity
  • MnO wt% GSWA TRAP
  • Field observations--Chemical sedimentary rocks SOURCE
  • Field observations--Clastic sedimentary rocks SOURCE
  • Field observations--Iron formation SOURCE--TRAP
  • Field observations--Manganese indicator minerals TRAP
  • Basins by tectonic setting SOURCE
  • Chemical sedimentary rocks SOURCE
  • Clastic sedimentary rocks SOURCE
  • Iron Formation SOURCE--TRAP
  • MnO wt% CRCLEME--nsmn raster TRAP
  • MnO wt% maximum grade--nsmn raster TRAP
  • MnO wt% OzCHEM--nsmn raster TRAP
  • MnO wt% rock chip--nsmn raster TRAP
  • MnO wt% shallow drillhole--nsmn raster TRAP
  • MnO wt% soil--nsmn raster TRAP
  • MnO wt% stream--nsmn raster TRAP
  • MnO/Al2O3 index--raster TRAP
  • MnO/(CaO+MgO) index--nsmax raster TRAP
  • MnO/Fe2O3T index--nsmn raster TRAP
  • MnO/SiO2 index--nsmax raster TRAP

Evaporite brine related potash

  • Mineralization sites--Potash
  • K/Cl enrichment above mean sea water PATHWAY--TRAP
  • K2O wt% OzChem WASANT SOURCE
  • Catchments DWER Extended SOURCE
  • Catchments NGSA SOURCE
  • Lakes TRAP
  • Lakes >=20km2 TRAP
  • Palaeovalleys WASANT PATHWAY--TRAP
  • Playa and salt lake terrains TRAP
  • Evaporites and diapirs SOURCE
  • K--IDW interpolation TRAPK--IDW raster TRAP
  • K--nsmn raster TRAP
  • K/Cl enrichment above mean sea water--IDW raster TRAP
  • K/Cl enrichment above mean sea water--nsmn raster TRAP
  • K/Na--IDW raster TRAP
  • K/Na--nsmn raster TRAP
  • SO4--IDW raster TRAP
  • SO4--nsmn raster TRAP
  • SO4/Cl--IDW raster TRAP
  • SO4/Cl--nsmn raster TRAP
  • Potash AEM compilation--raster PATHWAY--TRAP
  • Radiometric--Potassium--raster SOURCE--TRAP
  • Evaporation WA--raster
  • Evapotranspiration areal actual WA--raster
  • Rainfall WA--raster

Release date: July 2022

Layers Added

Primary data layers

  • State regolith geology
  • Hydrogeochemistry--CSIRO WASANT
  • Geochemistry--OzChem WASANT
  • Hydrology--Catchments DWER Extended
  • Hydrology--Catchments NGSA
  • Hydrology--Lakes 1:250 000
  • Hydrology--Palaeovalleys WASANT

Release date: April 2021

Systems Added

  • Tectonic units
  • Rare-element pegmatite
  • Layered intrusion-hosted vanadium

Layers Added

Tectonic units

  • Greenstone belt SOURCE
  • Large igneous provinces (LIP)

Rare-element pegmatite

  • Operating mines--Tin-Tantalum-Lithium
  • Mineralization sites--Tin-Tantalum-Lithium
  • Mineralization sites--Lithium
  • Pegmatite TRAP
  • Granitic rock SOURCE
  • Granitic rock ages SOURCE
  • Be ppm pegmatite TRAP
  • Cs ppm pegmatite TRAP
  • F ppm pegmatite TRAP
  • Li ppm pegmatite TRAP
  • Ta ppm pegmatite TRAP
  • U ppm pegmatite TRAP
  • Geochemistry--Pegmatite
  • Be ppm granitic rock SOURCE
  • Ca ppm granitic rock SOURCE
  • Cs/K granitic rock SOURCE
  • F ppm granitic rock SOURCE
  • Fe ppm granitic rock SOURCE
  • Ga ppm granitic rock SOURCE
  • Ga/Al granitic rock SOURCE
  • La/Yb granitic rock SOURCE
  • Li ppm granitic rock SOURCE
  • (Li+Cs+Ta)/(Ca+Mg) granitic rock SOURCE
  • Li/Mg granitic rock SOURCE
  • Mg ppm granitic rock SOURCE
  • Nb ppm granitic rock SOURCE
  • Rb ppm granitic rock SOURCE
  • Rb/K granitic rock SOURCE
  • Rb/Sr granitic rock SOURCE
  • SiO2 wt% granitic rock SOURCE
  • Sn ppm granitic rock SOURCE
  • Ta ppm granitic rock SOURCE
  • Ta/Nb granitic rock SOURCE
  • Ti ppm granitic rock SOURCE
  • Total REE ppm granitic rock SOURCE
  • Geochemistry--Granitic rock

Layered intrusion-hosted vanadium

  • Operating mines--Vanadium
  • Mineralization sites--Vanadium by type
  • Mineralization sites--Vanadium by commodity
  • Mafic intrusion SOURCE--TRAP
  • Magnetitite & Chromitite SOURCE--TRAP
  • V ppm
  • Geochemistry—Mafic intrusion vanadiu

Release date: February 2019

Systems Added

  • Primary data layers
  • Komatiite hosted nickel
  • Iron formation

Layers Added

Primary data layers

  • Geology MERGED
  • Geochemistry RECALC
  • 1:100 000 Linear Structures
  • 1:500 000 Linear Structures
  • 1:2 500 000 Interpreted Bedrock Geology

Komatiite hosted Nickel

  • Operating mines--Nickel
  • Mineralization sites--Nickel
  • Komatiite SOURCE--TRAP
  • Ultramafic SOURCE--TRAP
  • MgO wt% SOURCE
  • Mg# SOURCE
  • Ni/Cr SOURCE
  • Ni/Ti SOURCE
  • Geochemistry--Ultramafic

Iron Formation

  • Operating mines--Iron Ore
  • Mineralization sites--Iron Ore
  • Iron Formation SOURCE--TRAP
  • Fe2O3T wt% SOURCE--TRAP
  • SiO2 wt% SOURCE--TRAP
  • Geochemistry--Iron Formation

 External stakeholder advisory committee:

  • Anthony Budd (GA)
  • Kevin Cassidy (representing AMEC)
  • Jon Hronsky (Consultant)
  • Mark Lindsay (UWA)
  • Vaclav Metelka (CSIRO)
  • Tim Munday (CSIRO)
  • Robbie Rowe (Consultant)
  • Anil Subramanya (MRIWA)
  • Marcus Wilson (CSA Global)

Subject matter experts:

  • Steve Barnes (CSIRO)
  • Martin Gole
  • Margaux Le Vaillant (CSIRO)
  • Lisa Roche (FMG)
  • Marcus Sweetapple (Consultant)

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