The purpose of the UNCOVER initiative is to focus Australia's relevant geoscience effort on providing the knowledge base and technology that will substantially increase the success rate of mineral exploration beneath post-mineralisation cover in Australia.
Australia's resilient economy is supported through exploitation of its enormous natural resource wealth, most of it discovered in the last century. For over a decade resource discovery has not kept pace with extraction, despite significant exploration effort. It is evident that we have exhausted our easily discoverable near-surface resources and our share of international exploration expenditure has been in decline for over two decades.
This decline in exploration success is in large part due to the difficulty of exploring beneath post-mineralisation sedimentary basins and weathering profiles that cover approximately three-quarters of the continent. Much of the nation is largely under-explored and future success requires expansion of the search and discovery space to those areas that are under cover. Given the long lead times, often exceeding 20 years, between ore-deposit discovery and mining production, Australia must act now to implement measures necessary to create the pipeline of projects that will propagate our economic prosperity into the future.