South Australia Drill Core Reference Library opened By Brian Wickins and Martin Kovacs, 19 Feb 2016

A new $32.2 MM South Australia Drill Core Reference Library, hosting geological samples recovered from over 130 years of exploration for minerals and energy resources, has been opened in Tonsley, South Australia.

SA Premier Jay Weatherill stated: “This flagship facility will bring together more than 7.5 million metres of drill core samples from across the state, capturing more than 100 years of exploration”.


The facility has the capacity to display up to 2 km of cores for inspection on a series of automated conveyor belts in the main viewing area at any one time.

“It is a one-stop shop for industry and geoscience explorers seeking easy access to the State’s inventory of drill cores generated from historical and recent exploration efforts, enabling companies to better target potential discoveries,” Mr. Weatherill commented.

“It will boost exploration opportunities, unlocking the potential of South Australia’s resource wealth for many decades.”

The Premier said drill core samples were instrumental in major mineral and energy discoveries such as Olympic Dam and the Cooper Basin more than 40 years ago. “These projects continue to reap economic rewards to this day through exports, jobs for more than 3000 people, and ongoing royalty income,” he added.

The library brings together samples previously stored at four separate drill core libraries spread across South Australia. They are now kept in a massive storage warehouse featuring eight seemingly never-ending aisles that reach to the high ceiling.


Hi-tech forklifts are used to fetch requested core samples to be brought to the main viewing area for inspection.

The library is about two-thirds full with room for future samples for the next two decades.

SA Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis stated that the “library will enable explorers to highlight areas of real potential, and assist them in spending their exploration dollars more effectively”.

“This valuable collection, together with the State’s freely available exploration reports, data, information and latest modern drill core scanning systems, provide an important advantage in the ongoing search for mineral ore deposits and petroleum resources,” Mr. Koutsantonis commented.

“Our investment to preserve this treasure of geological information is vital to guide further exploration and develop a pipeline of new mining and energy developments for decades.”

The library incorporates a drill core viewing area, conference and education rooms and the latest 3D facilities, providing scientists with a 3D view of geology and mineral deposits under the earth’s surface, with the facility also providing direct access to South Australia’s library of geoscience information through SARIG (South Australian Resources Information Geoserver).

For more information visit: Drill Core Reference Library 

The following South Australian industry figures have been recognised in the new facility: 

  • The Goldsworthy Exhibition and Meeting Centre recognises Hon Roger Goldsworthy, former Deputy Premier, who played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Olympic Dam mine through his leadership of the Roxby Downs Indenture Bill.
  • The Nelson Discovery Hall, recognises Reg Nelson, a former Director of Mineral Development in the SADME and recently retired CEO of Beach Energy.
  • The geo-analytical laboratory and sampling/processing facility is named the Woodall Laboratory to honour Roy Woodall, who worked with Western Mining Corporation, and drove the early exploration program at Olympic Dam.
  • The Ludbrook Library, houses the Geological Survey of South Australia's fossil collection within the geoscience laboratory, and is named after the late Dr Nell Ludbrook, a SA palaeontologist.
  • Former Minister for Mineral Resources Development the Hon. Paul Holloway, is honoured with the naming of the Holloway Geoscience Theatre, a 3D imaging and workshop room.
  • The Payne Boardroom/Executive Conference room the late Hon Ronald Payne, former Minister of Mines and Energy (1982 – 1988).
  • The Blevins Auditorium is a major conference and industry forum space that recognises the contributions of the late Hon Frank Blevins who served roles as Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Mineral Resources in the establishment of South Australia's innovative first exploration initiative, SAEI.


Reg and Sue Nelson with Brian Logan (retired Manager of the Glenside Core Library) being shown features of core from the Carrapateena Copper discovery in the Nelson Discovery Hall by Wayne Cowley and Miles Davis (SA Dept State Development)