The Discovery and Development of a Significant New MVT Zinc-Lead District in the Kimberley Region, W.A.

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 1
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1988
In the search for significant new economic base-metal resources within Australia during the early 1970s BHP's Exploration Department had observed that the majority of lead and zinc con- centrate production in Europe and the USA came from carbonate- hosted Mississippi-Valley-type (MVT) zinc-lead deposits, but Aus- tralia had no history of production from this class of deposit despite several very favourable geological environments, par- ticularly in the large Palaeozoic sedimentary basins. An exploration-research team was established in 1975 and the Lennard Shelf region, near Fitzroy Crossing, was selected as a most promising geological environment. Previous exploration for this class of deposit by other companies in Australia had largely used conventional exploration philosophies (geological mapping, geophysics and geochemistry to identify specific drill targets) but BHP sought specialist advice from a North American expert and adopted a grid-drilling philosophy, which involved wide spaced relatively deep diamond drill holes on a regular grid pattern, and statistical evaluation of the results. This technique resulted in the discovery of the Blendevale Deposit in 1978 in an area which had previously been explored by other companies using conventional methodologies. The deposit was delineated and a pre-feasibility study carried out in 1985 indicated that the resource of 20 Mt @ 8.3% Zn, 2.5% Pb was a marginal proposition.
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