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Southland, New Zealand

Southland is well known for its mineral and coal wealth, and for several years Kenex has been involved with mineral potential mapping and permit management in the region.

 

The Southland region is located south of Otago and hosts intrusive suites known for mafic Ni-Cu-PGE and porphyry Cu-Au mineralisation. These intrusives are overlain by Tertiary sediments which host several coal and lignite sequences. These coal and lignite sequences are currently the main mining focus of the region; however, extensive exploration of Southland for mineral deposits is underway by several companies.

 

Kenex has undertaken mineral potential mapping of mafic Ni-Cu-PGE and porphyry Cu-Au mineralisation in Southland to identify targets in the region for follow-up exploration (Partington and Hill, 2008). For this mineral potential mapping we used the fuzzy logic technique to combine predictive maps created from databases of geological mapping, geochemical sampling, geophysics (where available), and mineral occurrences. These maps were created to represent elements of the mineral system for mafic Ni-Cu-PGE and porphyry Cu-Au mineralisation and combined to form a map showing the areas most prospective in Southland.

 

The Longwood Ranges, Takitimu ranges, and Greenhills regions of Southland have long been recognised as having the potential to host economic mineralisation related to mafic Ni-Cu-PGE and porphyry Cu-Au mineral systems. Our mineral potential mapping successfully identified these known areas supporting the validity of these models as predictors of mineralisation in Southland. The results reduced the exploration search area in Southland down to 3% of the study area for porphyry Cu-Au mineralisation and to 6% for mafic Ni-Cu-PGE mineralisation. The mineral potential mapping conducted has allowed Kenex clients such as Lodestar Resources Limited, Paramount Platinum Limited, and Continental Resources Limited to target their exploration more effectively, ensure they are using the right exploration tools, and to try and make more objective management decisions while quickly moving closer toward finding an ore deposit. 

 

Mineral potential modelling results for the Southland region increasing from prospective (dark blue) to highly prospective (red).

 

The Southland region has extensive lignite and coal deposits underlying the Southland plains in Oligocene and Miocene sediments. The region is well known for its lignite deposits which are actively being explored by several companies including Solid Energy, FMG Pacific, and L&M Coal. Southland includes coal deposits such as Ohai, Gore, and Mataura and these resources are being explored for use as energy supplies in the form of coal, conversion of lignite to diesel fuel, and also coal-seam gas deposits. It is estimated that there are up to 9 billion tonnes of in-ground coal in Southland making it a significant resource for New Zealand.

 

Kenex has been involved with the assessment of the deposit distribution and mineral ownership reports for coal and we continue to assist explorers with spatial data and permit management in the region.



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