The Musgrave geological province of South Australia has been identified as a key priority area for exploration and mining development in the APY lands. The community water supplies in this remote, low rainfall area are dependent on local groundwater resources, of which there is insufficient data to establish the security of supply or regional water source options. There is a need for improved understanding of the groundwater resource potential in these remote, data poor areas to support communities, industry and the environment.
The State Government has identified the Musgrave geological province as an important frontier exploration area for further mining industry development in South Australia. Water supply for mining operations will be a major issue for development of mining in these areas. In order to assist the development of mineral resources and facilitate improvements to the water security of regional communities in the Musgrave geological province, there is a need to better understand the potential of groundwater resources in these areas to supply water of suitable quality for the purposes of mining operations, as well as for community water supplies and aboriginal pastoral industry development. The key management issues to be addressed are:
The research questions addressed by the GFLOWS Stage 3 project were:
G-FLOWS Stage 3 placed a particular emphasis on building on and extending the scientific approaches taken in G-FLOWS Stage 1 and 2, specifically by extending the geophysical inversion process which is expected to reduce uncertainty in groundwater resource characterisation. The approach validated, refined and improved geophysical interpretation techniques for groundwater hydrology with integrated hydrogeophysical conceptualisation, characterisation, and modelling. A key output of GFLOWS Stage 3 is a repeatable methodology that integrates datasets to identify and characterise groundwater resources.
This project undertook a targeted program of data acquisition, interpretation and mapping of groundwater resources in the Musgrave Province. The research applied innovative new modelling and interpretive techniques to help identify groundwater resources and better understand the hydrogeological environments in which they exist. The research involved four primary tasks:
The G-FLOWS Stage 3 project supports the South Australian Government’s FLOWS initiative to locate, define and quantify groundwater resources in key areas of the state including priority mineral prospective zones as identified in the South Australian Regional Mining and Infrastructure Plan 2014. The project has improved mapping and quantification of groundwater resource availability in the Musgrave Province where the G-FLOWS Stage 1 project was focused.
The G-FLOWS Stage 3 project has identified new groundwater resources in the Musgrave Province.
The new methodologies and processing techniques developed through G-FLOWS can be directly applied elsewhere in Australia and overseas where valuable water resources are hidden by deep sediments and cover. Other areas in South Australia include the Olympic Dam province, Woomera region, and Southern Gawler Ranges on northern Eyre Peninsula in the Gawler Craton where GFLOWS 2 has previously contributed and the Braemar region, which is the focus of magnetite ore development. These are regions where the results of G-FLOWS Stage 3 project can be applied in future.
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