Completed 2024 Tennant Creek - Mt Isa Focus Area

The Tennant Creek to Mount Isa region hosts known mineral deposits in exposed Proterozoic rocks, most notably iron oxide copper-gold mineral systems in the Tennant Creek area, and basin-hosted base metals (zinc, lead) and uranium in the McArthur Basin. However, despite the known presence of these mineral systems, the region remains under-explored beneath cover, which is also likely to host similarly-prospective rocks.

Integrated studies of the Tennant Creek-Mount Isa region aimed to boost the exploration attractiveness of the region and facilitate future exploration success through improved understanding of the regional stratigraphic and events framework and through mineral potential assessments under cover.

Predictive map of IOCG mineral systems potential in the Tennant Creek to Mt Isa area.

Predictive map of IOCG mineral systems potential in the Tennant Creek to Mt Isa area. Red and yellow represent higher mineral systems potential, blues represent lower potential. Northern Territory exploration tenements, both granted and under application, are plotted on the map (as at February 2020)

Initial activities in the Tennant Creek-Mount Isa region were focused on improving data coverage in covered areas through sampling of existing boreholes and producing mineral potential assessments for iron oxide copper-gold and basin-hosted mineral systems. Following these initial interpretations, several key regions of interest were identified and became the focus of additional data acquisition and updates to geological and mineral system models. Integrated studies have drawn on a range of other Exploring for the Future activities, including energy-focused studies in the South Nicholson Basin region.

Ultimately, new interpretations in the Tennant Creek-Mount Isa region formed the basis for a planned pre-competitive stratigraphic drilling program as part of the  MinEx CRC National Drilling Initiative. This drilling tested hypotheses and provided new geological constraints in poorly-understood parts of the region.

What we did 

  • Conducted mineral potential assessments for iron oxide copper-gold 
  • Undertook sampling of boreholes and other existing rock samples to characterise regional stratigraphic packages and tectonic events.


The Tennant Creek-Mt Isa region incorporates parts of the Northern Territory and Queensland. Project collaborators include:

In addition, stratigraphic drilling activities were undertaken in the region as part of the National Drilling Initiative, a major program of the  MinEx CRC.


  • Compilation of geoscientific data from legacy boreholes in the Tennant Creek - Mt Isa region
  • Mineral potential maps for iron oxide copper-gold style mineralisation
  • Mapping of Magnetite and Hematite Alteration Proxies using 3D Gravity and Magnetic Inversion
  • Assessments of basin-hosted Zn-Pb-Cu-U mineral system potential for selected basins in the Tennant Creek-Mt Isa region
  • Selection of sites for stratigraphic drilling in selected regions within the Tennant-Isa project area to characterise the nature and temporal evolution of cover, facilitate a new understanding of the geodynamic evolution of the hidden basement geology and provide a framework for mineral systems analysis.