WORK on a government funded aeromagnetic survey project across New Zealand’s South Island has stopped for the winter, with more than 83,000 line kilometres of geophysical data acquired so far.

New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals (NZP&M) has acquired 53,000 line kilometres of data over the Southland and Otago areas after starting in January 2016. The survey will recommence in North Otago in the summer.

The agency has already completed its survey over the Nelson and Marlborough regions, which started in late November 2015 with more than 30,000 line kilometres of geophysical data acquired.

NZP&M said data from the survey would be made freely available to industry and potential investors by July, in order to get better insights into the mineral potential of the areas.

When combined with previous surveys by government and the minerals industry, these surveys will mean aeromagnetic data has been gathered over 30 per cent of New Zealand, NZP&M said.

The surveys are part of an NZ$8 million government investment in new data, announced in 2014, with a deadline for completion by 2017.

Local authorities including the Marlborough District Council and Venture Southland (representing Environment Southland, Southland District Council, Invercargill City Council and Gore District Council) have partnered with NZP&M on the project.

The authorities will use the aeromagnetic data to help them map geological hazards (including fault lines); understand regional water resources and gather information on climate, soil and geology.