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FeOx 2000
Iron Oxide Copper-Gold Deposits
7 to 13 December, 2000
In the Ernest Henry Pit
Porter GeoConsultancy and the Australian Mineral Foundation continued their International Study Tour series of professional development courses by providing a unique opportunity to:

• Visit a diverse range of the most significant Iron Oxide Copper Gold (IOCG) deposits, with differing structural, geologic and mineralogic characteristics, in three separate mineral provinces across Australia.

• Inspect comprehensive suites of host rock and ore specimens from a selection of major deposits around the world at the Data Metallogenica Centre in Adelaide. This included >1000 specimens from >30 IOCG deposits, supported by geologic diagrams and sections, with literature back-up and experts on hand to answer queries.

• Study the setting and field expression of this style of mineralisation during a two day field workshop in the mineral rich Cloncurry Terrane of NW Queensland, led by top international expert Dr Pat Williams of James Cook University. The Cloncurry Terrane embraces the Ernest Henry, Osborne and Selwyn District IOCG deposits.

  The tour took just seven days, starting and ending in Adelaide, South Australia, but involved over 4500 km of travel across three Australian States/Territories, utilising three chartered, fast, pressurised Cessna Conquest aircraft.

Photo Album - who went and what they saw,     

  The tour was a post-conference field trip to the associated 'Hydrothermal Iron Oxide Copper-Gold & Related Deposits - A Global Perspective' Conference, which had attracted several hundred delegates from Australia and around the world, and was held in Perth, Western Australia, on 4 and 5 December 2000. This conference had been convened and managed by the Australian Mineral Foundation, whilst Mike Porter of Porter GeoConsultancy had developed the program and invited the speakers that included the leading experts on IOCG deposits from around the globe.

  Following the conference, those taking the tour made their way to Adelaide, and on the evening of Wednesday 6 December, rendezvoused with others not at the conference, for an Introductory Dinner and Meeting in Adelaide.

  On the following morning, the group was taken to the Data Metallogenica Centre, at that time housed at the Australian Mineral Foundation headquarters in Adelaide, for a full day workshop. There were samples from 30 x IOCG deposits (as described above) laid out in 4 suites in 4 rooms, divided into 'The Americas - Phanerozoic', 'The Americas - Proterozoic', 'Scandinavia-Africa-Asia' and 'Australia'. The group was divided into 4 syndicates, each allocated a suite, and rotated every 2 hours. Two local IOCG experts, Ken Cross and Robin Uppill of Western Mining - Olympic Dam were on hand to contribute to discussion.

  Next morning, a dawn charter flight out of Adelaide, into Roxby Downs 600 km to the north, saw the group onsite at the Olympic Dam mine by 8:00 am (lower right image). After an introduction to the geology and mineralisation of the deposit, the large group of 25 was divided in two, with half going underground in the morning while the remainder were taken to the extensive core yard to be walked through core from a number of drill holes. After lunch the groups swapped. In the late afternoon, they all returned to the airport for the charter flight across the continent to Cloncurry in NW Queensland, where they overnighted. Two of the aircraft then returned to Adelaide, leaving a third with the group to cater for any emergency or other contingency.

  The following two days, Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 December were devoted to a mixed classroom and field workshop presented by internationally renowned IOCG and Northwest Queensland expert, Dr Pat Williams from James Cook University. Field traverses, including open pit visits, were conducted in the Cloncurry-Ernest Henry-Mount Fort Constantine region on Saturday, and further south in the Mount Elliot - Selwyn/Starra and Mount Dore areas on Sunday.

  Monday 11 December was taken up with a comprehensive geological overview briefing, open pit visit in the morning and drill core inspection in the afternoon at the major Ernest Henry deposit (upper left image), 35 km NE of Cloncurry. That night, back in the groups motel in Cloncurry, they were joined for dinner by around a dozen geologists from the Ernest Henry mine and Mount Isa Mines Exploration, whilst several tour group members gave presentations on IOCG deposits with which they were familiar from elsewhere in the world.

One of the Olympic Dam headframes   Next morning, 18 of the now 27 strong group, boarded the aircraft that had stayed in Cloncurry, and one of the other two that had returned on the previous afternoon. This group flew ~150 km to the south to the Osborne mine, whilst the remaining 9 were taken by bus to the Eloise ISCG deposit, located ~60 km SE of Cloncurry. The reason for the division was to accommodate safety restrictions on numbers going underground at either mine. At Osborne, we were given a comprehensive geological briefing before being divided into two parties, with one going underground while the other stayed on the surface to study drill core. After lunch, the two parties swapped, with the second having their turn underground. In the mid afternoon, the group departed on the two chartered aircraft, en route for Tennant Creek, ~700 km to the WNW, in the Northern Territory. Meanwhile, the Eloise group had also been given a geological briefing, underground visit and shown core from representative drill holes. They had been driven back to Cloncurry airport, where the third charter Conquest had recently landed and refuelled, and was waiting to take them to Tennant Creek. All three aircraft landed at their common destination within 10 minutes of each other, and the group was driven into town on the awaiting charter bus.

  The final day of the tour, Wednesday 13 December, was devoted to the deposits of the Tennant Creek Goldfield. This commenced with a thoughtful geological presentation in town followed by field traverses and open pit visits at both the Noble's Nob and White Devil mines, followed by lunch and the opportunity to study drill core from a number of deposits. In the late afternoon, the three aircraft departed Tennant Creek for Adelaide. One refuelled at Roxby Downs, the other at Leigh Creek to avoid waiting at the same site, while the third which had longer range tanks and a tail wind continued direct to Adelaide. The group re-assembled at the tour hotel in Adelaide for a farewell dinner and goodbyes before departing next day to their home bases around the world.

  This study tour was planned, organised and managed by Porter GeoConsultancy as a professional development course on the curriculum of the Australian Mineral Foundation.
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