Origin of Koppamurra: Australia’s first ionic clay hosted rare earth element prospect
Discover the origins and distribution of a unique style of rare earth element mineralisation in south-east SA.
Rare earth elements (REE), such as neodymium and dysprosium are essential for turbines and electric motors that will underpin society’s transition to renewable green energy and electric vehicle transportation. Australia is well positioned to be a secure global supplier of REE in the coming decades.
The newly-discovered Koppamurra REE prospect in SE South Australia has potential to become an important source of REE: it is an ionic clay hosted deposit––the only one of its kind in Australia––that is in the earliest stages of exploration and development.
Currently, little is known of the geology of this deposit, including how the deposit formed, and where the REE and hosting clays were sourced from. Potential sources include recent volcanic systems in the Mount Gambier region (e.g., Mt Burr) to the south, or the Paleozoic Glenelg River igneous/metamorphic complex to the east (see image).
This honours project will work in tandem with an industry partner to examine the geology and ore setting of the Koppamurra Prospect and will evaluate the origin of REE and clay minerals using Nd isotope analysis and investigation of accessory resistant detrital/igneous minerals.
By combining these high precision isotope data with detailed petrographic evaluation of the ore samples, you will be able to unravel the enigmatic origin of this unique ore style, which will assist in exploration and resource definition in the area, and potentially across Australia.