The Western Australia (WA) Government has partnered with key gold industry players and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to launch a new research project to extend the life of major mines.

The $1.685m project is also aimed at revealing sites for new operations.

WA mines and petroleum minister Bill Marmion launched the Pathways To High-Grade Ore: 3D Gradient Mapping Of Mineral Systems at Kalgoorlie-Boulder’s Kanowna Belle gold mine.

According to Marmion, the research project will be carried out for a period of 12 months.

"This is an ideal time to build on current gold sector activity, by using our world-leading science to target known gold-rich zones."

Marmion said: "This is an ideal time to build on current gold sector activity, by using our world-leading science to target known gold-rich zones.

"Mining companies are helping sponsor the project because prolonging the life of proven operations is very cost-effective, especially when it comes to job security."

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By evaluating the Earth’s crust, the Pathways project will develop 3D modelling of gold-bearing systems focusing on important Eastern Goldfields geological faults.

The project will receive $395,000 grant from the state government’s Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia (MRIWA).

Five gold producers are also contributing for the project.

Marmion added saying that the latest research will also help point the way to new discoveries in greenfields areas such as the Yamarna greenstone belt located east of Laverton.

For the project, the CSIRO will provide sample preparation and analysis, data processing, scanning electron microscope analytics, as well as 3D modelling.