Exploring new options: innovations in mineral exploration more important during a downturn
Mining Magazine’s April feature 'Exploring new options' examines how innovations in mineral exploration are even more important during a downturn, and what's new in exploration drilling and software.
Reporting for Mining Magazine, Aibhe Goodbody notes that there is an increasing need for explorers to demonstrate that they have efficient data collection and management systems, along with good governance practices, transparency and auditability. This is where exploration software has a key role to play.
Taking risk out of discovery
In the published article, Tim Dobush, president and CEO of Geosoft says: “Mineral explorers are looking for ways to take more risk out of discovery. With tighter budgets and risk-averse shareholders, they want to make full use of available resources and data to improve the potential of their projects. And they are merging proven science with technological innovation to do this.”
If there is anything positive about the current exploration downturn, it is the opportunity for explorers to take a breath, comb through the data they’ve collected, purge what is redundant or corrupt, and organize what remains to make it more useable. Software technology and services exist to help automate this process, and make valued data and information more readily available to exploration teams.
While this effort will take time upfront, ultimately it will deliver increased exploration efficiency and provide more insight to improve target selection and hit rates.
Technology and innovation
The day is coming when explorers will be able to choose a location anywhere in the world, access all of the exploration data ever collected there, and immediately begin to build an integrated 3D model to guide further exploration with the intent to improve the odds of discovery.
Innovation that is helping to make this possible includes the emergence of high performance geocomputing in the cloud, more sophisticated and faster methods for integrating and modelling large multidisciplinary data and web-based solutions for managing and delivering exploration information.
“Exploration companies that adopt technological innovation to empower their geoscience knowledge experts, and become more agile, collaborative and intelligent in their approaches, will have the competitive advantage,” Dobush concludes.
Several mineral exploration projects demonstrating innovative and effective use of Geosoft software and services were featured in the article. They include:
At the North ROK property, the team used the Geosoft platform to integrate data and build knowledge: from creating maps and simple survey grids in the early stages, to analysing geochemistry and building geophysical models as the project advanced, to finally preparing the resource wireframes. More than 80% of the data analysis was done using Geosoft Oasis montaj and Target 3D geology programs. Colorado's story >
Hope Brook is a former gold mine in Newfoundland, Canada. Several explorers have investigated the land around the mine, but exploiting the mineralisation that they have focused on would be uneconomic at current gold prices. However, Coastal Gold has improved the project’s potential by integrating geophysical, lithogeochemical and geological data in a 3D model to provide a new perspective. The data integration successfully highlighted a higher-grade area that could provide an acceptable rate of return. Coastal used Geosoft Target for ArcGIS to integrate and visualise the multidisciplinary data. The drill targets were identified by a 3D inversion of resistivity and electromagnetic data imported into Geosoft Oasis montaj. Coastal's story >
Cameco has just launched GET-IT which provides a web interface for exploration and land-management data, in Australia. The North American launch will take place in April. As a key component of GET-IT, Geosoft’s DAP server stores the company’s geophysical data consisting of 650 surveys ranging from seismic to airborne EM. Cameco also makes extensive use of Geosoft exploration applications for data interpretation, presentation and modelling, including Target for 3D geology and VOXI Earth Modelling for geophysical inversion. Cameco's story >