September 2016: Chile will only be able to fully realize its geological potential if geologists find new ways to make mineral discoveries. New technologies have become a key ally in this quest and many were on display at Chile Explore Congress 2016, with presentations by Corescan, Csiro, High Power Exploration (HPX) and Mira Geoscience.
Gervais Perron, business development manager at Mira Geoscience, explained how his company develops 3D implemented models which take into account the geological, geophysical and geochemical constraints of each project to create more solid drill targets and reduce geologists’ reliance on mineralized outcropping.
“We use computerized models, collect more data and we need smaller samples. These are explicit models that allow you to interact with them and better understand exploration,” said Perron.
Brigette Martini, VP Business Development Corescan
Corescan gave details of how the company studies epithermal alterations using hyperspectral imaging. VP Business Development Brigette Martini explained the advantages of using scanners to identify mineralization when analyzing drill core. “Our laboratories have the capacity to analyze approximately 500mpd. The cost depends on the volume of the sample but can vary between US$17 and US$30,” Martini explained.
Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and High Power Exploration, led by mining financier Robert Friedland, are developing technologies to detect mineralization deep underground with no clues on the surface, such as those lying beneath the caliche beds of northern Chile.
Robert Hough, director of CSIRO’s discoveries program, emphasised that the success of exploration campaigns depends to a significant degree to the way geologists examine the overlying cover. “We are developing technologies to better understand the composition of caliche-type cover and chalcopyrite. These are tools which allow us to define new targets in the case of gold targets,” Hough said.
Robert Hough, director of CSIRO’s
In particular, CSIRO is integrating geophysical, geochemical and geological models that combine statistics and algorithms to interpret ground patterns and reduce uncertainty in exploration. For example, the organization has developed high-precision mapping of underground resources using a software which simulates geological models to locate gold deposits and define how mineralization is distributed. It also uses 3D images to define the mineralogical characterization by scanning drill cores.
Mark Gibson, COO of HPX, described Typhoon IP, the geophysical tool the company has developed to explore beneath the caliche. “The caliche is invisible to this technology and it can detect anomalies at greater depths,” he explained.
The ultra-powerful transmitter was used at the Conico project in Region II where it was able to define three points of potential activity at a depth of 200m.
Typhoon can detect mineral anomalies over much greater area than conventional technologies, covering up to 200km at a time and with no limit on the amount of data it can transmit.