The project: “Volcanic Stratigraphy & Alteration in the Western Copper Deeps” uses analytics and statistics to characterise volcanic facies, determine the alteration of minerology and the paleotemperatures of fluids.

The Drake Goldfield is located within far north-eastern NSW, close to the Queensland border and some 55km east of Tenterfield. This goldfield is within the New England Orogen, with most of the mineralisation hosted within the Middle Permian Drake Volcanics.

Three deep diamond holes were drilled below the Gladstone Hill deposit to test a large geophysical anomaly hoping to find porphyry Cu-Au mineralisation. These are the deepest holes so far drilled within the Drake goldfield and are critical for our understanding of the volcanic stratigraphy and mineralisation within the Drake goldfield as a whole. Also, no research has been conducted on these deposits.


This project aims to:

  • Characterise the volcanic facies through the Drake Volcanics.
  • Determine the alteration mineralogy through the Drake Volcanics.
  • Determine the paleotemperatures of the fluids using illite crystallinity.

Student benefits

During this project you’ll learn:

  • How to use and apply a wide range of analytical and statistical methods.
  • Detailed transmitted and reflected light petrography
  • Volcanic processes.
  • Volcanic stratigraphy.
  • Alteration associated with mineralisation in volcanic arc terranes

You’ll also gain one year of industry experience.

Supervisors: Dr Ian T Graham, Ms Hongyan Quan (PhD student), Dr Dane Burkett (UNSW Research Fellow) and Mr Rohan Worland (White Rock Minerals Ltd).

Get involved

To learn more about this project, contact Dr Ian T Graham.

T: +61 2 9385 8720