North Stawell Minerals has secured itself funding of up to $50,000 from the Australian government’s scientific research agency to assist the junior explorer in finding the next multi-million-ounce gold mine under cover in Victoria’s Stawell region.

North Stawell Minerals (ASX:NSM) has been successful in its application to the CSIRO for a $50,000 grant under the organisation’s Kick Start initiative.

Investors responded in kind by driving the share price up over 8% to an intra-day peak of 10.5c.

North Stawell Minerals (ASX:NSM) share price chart



The Kick Start program helps start-ups and small businesses overcome some of the barriers to pursuing research and development activities by providing funding and support, including access to the CSIRO’s research expertise and capabilities.

In NSM’s case, the company is hunting for the next major gold mine under a thin blanket of cover using geophysics.

The cover complicates targeting and exploration, but preserves the potential for very shallow, large, mineral systems to remain undiscovered.

With the CSIRO’s assistance, NSM is working to identify gold mineralisation pathways from geophysics data, which has the potential to significantly accelerate the company’s exploration focus and success using regional data.

Major gold potential

The Stawell Zone has historically yielded about 6Moz of gold production. The mineralisation at the 5Moz Stawell gold mine, immediately south of NSM’s extensive landholding, is from the same event that deposited mineralisation throughout the Victorian Goldfields, including the 20Moz Bendigo field and the 13Moz Ballarat field.

But with 85% of the fertile Stawell Zone obscured by a blanket of late unmineralised Murray Basin sediments, this posed a major hurdle for past explorers with exploration techniques of the time not up to the task of penetrating the cover to detect the gold.

As a result, there is still estimated untapped potential of around 32Moz under cover in northern Victoria.

NSM says Stawell-like mineralisation is an excellent target through cover because the deposit style is cored by a buttress of basalt with mineralisation wrapping around the margins, which is readily detected with geophysics.

Recently acquired, high-resolution gravity data, along with existing high resolution magnetics data, has already been used to successfully target highly encouraging gold results in first-pass regional drill programs.

Geophysical anomalies can be used to model the shape of the underlying basalt.

NSM explained that the CSIRO project used numerical modelling to interrogate the 3D shapes and identify the pathways gold mineralisation may have exploited when Stawell-gold systems were formed.

This process has significant potential to constrain the most likely areas to host gold on the margin of the basalts, and the potential scale of the dilation site, throughout the of 3D-processed geophysical data in the North Stawell tenements.

The technique has previously been used at the Stawell mine with success.

An advantage for NSM’s project – using geophysics-derived basalt shapes – is the vastly increased scale of ground covered in the modelling process.

If successful, the process could substantially reduce the drilling needed to uncover the next multi-million-ounce gold system in the prospective Stawell Corridor.


This article was developed in collaboration with North Stawell Minerals, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.


This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.