Between June and August 2018 the department, in collaboration with Geoscience Australia and the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Innovation and Safety, undertook a high-tech seismic reflection survey of the Kidson Sub-basin. This Sub-basin is a remote south-east portion of the Canning Basin, one of the least geologically understood regions in Australia.

Running from Kiwirrkurra to Marble Bar - a distance of 872 kilometres – the Kidson Seismic Survey is the longest continuously onshore seismic line in Australia. The $4.75 million survey was co-funded by the Commonwealth Government’s “Exploring for the Future” program and Western Australia’s Exploration Incentive Scheme.

Throughout the survey the department was closely involved in the management of cultural heritage, land access and stakeholder engagement, particularly with the remote Kiwirrkurra, Kunawarritji and Punmu Aboriginal communities. In addition, registered native title body corporates, registered native title claimants, native title representative bodies, pastoral leasees, Local and State Governments and registered holders of mining and petroleum pipeline tenure interests were consulted.

Revealing new structural and stratigraphic information about the Canning Basin, the Paterson Orogen and the Pilbara Craton, the Kidson Seismic Survey provides subsurface geological data valuable to minerals; petroleum and hydrological industries; researchers; and government departments.

By better understanding the location and scale of potential energy and mineral resources, the survey data is expected to stimulate new interest in the exploration of the area; improve exploration efficiency over a broad area; and potentially support more job opportunities in the region.

Raw data from the Kidson Seismic Survey revealed new geological features, highlighting new mineral resource potential in an area known to host significant copper and gold deposits. The preliminary results indicate there are more mineral resources to be found within the area. Having received a Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia grant, the department’s geoscientists, working with the Centre of Exploration Targeting at the University of Western Australia, are also using the survey data to interpret underlying crystalline basement in the region.

The survey data is being used by the department to better understand the geology of the region and target drilling locations, as demonstrated by the department’s Kidson Sub-basin Stratigraphic Drilling Project. Working with Geoscience Australia, and having secured Commonwealth funding, the project will provide stratigraphic information within the Waukarlycarly Embayment of the Canning Basin – an active mineral exploration area for which the stratigraphy is unknown. Drilling is planned to commence in the later half of 2019.