CONSTRUCTION has started on a new $32.2 million Drill Core Reference Library in South Australia, housing an important portion of the State’s mineral and petroleum records.

Bringing together more than 7.5 million metres of drill core material held in four libraries across the State, the new library will be at the heart of the expanding resources precinct at Tonsley.

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the modern facility would be an inventory of drill cores generated from historical and recent exploration efforts in South Australia, enabling companies to better target potential discoveries.

The new library’s collection will include samples which date back to 1886 and it will have the capacity to store new reference drill cores and rock cutting samples for the next 20 years, if not longer.

Each year, more than 900,000 metres of mineral drilling and 50,000 metres of petroleum drilling are completed by industry, with about 30,000 metres of the best representative drill core samples retained as permanent reference material, the South Australian government said.

The new purpose-built facility will feature modern viewing rooms, access to geoscience information and related services, an industry workshop and education facilities.

It will be home to one of the world’s best ore deposits reference collections, a Data Metallogenica room and a palaeontology area to house the State’s fossil collection when it opens in early 2016.

Construction started roughly a month before the opening of the Onshore Petroleum Centre of Excellence (OPCE) training facility at Tonsley TAFE, at the institute’s Sustainable Industries Education Centre.

“This centre will train hundreds of industry workers in a fully immersive, simulated oil and gas production environment, without the need for costly fly-in, fly-out arrangements,” Mr Koutsantonis said.

“Industry workers will be able to undertake a Certificate II in Petroleum Production Operations and TAFE is currently finalising a Certificate IV qualification to meet the skill requirements of the OPCE partners.

“Previously these qualifications were only available to the partners with in-house training,” he said.