CSIRO has revealed a new way to look for gold.

The technique is based on the recent discovery that the formation of ancient gold deposits during the Archean period (over 2.5 billion years ago) also produced distinctive patterns of chemical alteration in the surrounding rocks.

CSIRO experts have come up with a way to search for these distinctive patterns, making it faster and more efficient for exploration companies to identify potential new deposits.

This could greatly assist exploration in the Eastern Yilgarn region which, despite sharing its Archean geology with the richly-endowed Eastern Goldfields, has produced fewer gold discoveries to date than expected.

Conventional exploration is focused on finding the gold deposit and relies on geological and geophysical mapping, coupled with whole-rock geochemistry, to identify potentially suitable host rocks and structures that might host the deposit.

The new approach looks for evidence of the chemical system that deposited the gold.

The technical report on the new technique is accessible here.