Give them data and they will come
Geoscience data is to exploration what road systems are to transport: a precompetitive asset that jurisdictions must provide if they hope to foster a viable and sustainable mining industry.
Jurisdictions willing to provide the data necessary to begin the search for buried deposits will reap the benefits of the next generation of mines, predicts Jon Hronsky, principal of Western Mining Services, who gave the keynote address at the PDAC 2016 convention.
In an interview with Earth Explorer, Hronsky said:
“Pre-competitive geoscience data will be essential as we move into the 21st century because in order to find deposits that really matter, you’ll have you look in areas where they are concealed. You will need data, especially airborne magnetic and gravity data, you can use to map and interpret the rocks under cover and come up with targets.”
The availability of pre-competitive data varies widely. Countries such as Australia and Canada are ahead of the pack, routinely supplying high level data that helps stimulate exploration. More recently, Botswana announced it would provide multidisciplinary data and information via an online geoscience portal, a move applauded by key stakeholders and the exploration community. Since the portal launched in April, over 500 datasets have been downloaded from 26 countries.
But many jurisdictions are in danger of being left behind, according to Hronsky, because their geology is hidden under cover and poorly understood. Or, they may have the necessary data, but keep it to themselves.
Using technology wisely is key to extracting value from available data. “We should be asking: can we do more with the data before we put the first drill hole in the ground?" said Tim Dobush, CEO of Geosoft. "Mining the vast amounts of existing public geoscience and ancillary data provides us with millions of dollars of realized exploration assets. With the right geological insights and software technologies, it’s an excellent starting point for any project generation programme.”
Read the full story on Earth Explorer, for more perspective on pre-competitive data and emerging trends that will shape the future of exploration.