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Earth Explorer is an online source of news, expertise and applied knowledge for resource explorers and earth scientists. Sponsored by Geosoft.

News & Views

News Archive

December 7, 2016

Geosoft introduces IP and resistivity inversion in VOXI Earth Modelling

Geosoft has added induced polarization and resistivity data inversion to its VOXI Earth Modelling 3D inversion software service. Geoscientists are now able to create detailed 3D models of conductivity and chargeability from IP and resistivity survey data with VOXI. The resulting models can assist in interpreting and targeting regions for mineral and environmental applications...

December 5, 2016

Mexico's Deepwater Round Exceeds Expectations

Some of the world's biggest oil companies showed up Dec. 5 and agreed to invest on the Mexican side of the Gulf of Mexico, proving that deepwater exploration still has a pulse despite challenging market conditions...

November 30, 2016

Magnetic inversion results for Ngamiland available for download

A regional-scale geophysical inversion of magnetic field data in the Ngamiland region of northwestern Botswana is now available for download from the Botswana Geoscience Portal, a partnership initiative of the Botswana Geoscience Institute, industry sponsors and Geosoft...

November 30, 2016

LIGO Resumes Search for Gravitational Waves

After a series of upgrades, the twin detectors of LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, have turned back on and resumed their search for ripples in the fabric of space and time known as gravitational waves. LIGO transitioned from their engineering test runs to full science observations at 8 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on November 30...

November 9, 2016

International Volcano Scientists Unite

For the first time, the United States will host the international Volcano Observatory Best Practices workshop, previously held only in Italy. The workshop will take place this month in Vancouver, Washington. It is designed specifically for volcano observatories around the world and their staff to exchange ideas and best practices with each other...

October 4, 2016

USGS Assesses Mineral Potential for Sagebrush Habitats in Six Western States

USGS has completed a comprehensive assessment and inventory of potential mineral resources covering approximately 10 million acres of Federal and adjacent lands in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming...

October 3, 2016

Uganda Targets Up to U.S.$100 Million for Mineral Exploration

Uganda is well endowed with mineral resources and, like many naturally-gifted African countries, is becoming keen on ensuring that these resources play a transformative role in its long-term structural transformation dream - the Vision 2040...

September 9, 2016

Small-Scale Fishers Get A Big Boost With First-Of-Its Kind Impact Investment Fund

Conservation organization Rare announces the Meloy Fund for Small-Scale Fisheries at Our Ocean Conference. The Global Environment Facility, one of the largest funders of conservation worldwide, will be investing $6 million into the fund...

September 1, 2016

Scientists take to the skies to track West African pollution

Scientists operating research aircraft over West Africa have detected organic materials in the atmosphere over a number of urban areas, contributing to concerns of the rise in pollution across the region...

August 17, 2016

New IGS Xplore prospectivity maps for Botswana

International Geoscience Services have released a series of base metal prospectivity maps for the Ngamiland District of northwestern Botswana using free geodata available on the recently-launched Botswana Geoscience Portal, hosted by Geosoft. The maps identify favorable areas for copper, zinc and lead mineralization using geological, geochemical and geophysical datasets downloaded directly from the portal.

August 11, 2016

NexGen Makes New High Grade Discovery

NexGen Energy reported the discovery of a new high grade zone of mineralization 4.7 km northeast of the Arrow Deposit as part of an on-going summer drilling program on its 100% owned, Rook I property, Athabasca Basin, Saskatchewan...

August 10, 2016

Rampion UXO Disposal to Take Place This Week

E.ON has confirmed that the two unexploded devices, detected along the Rampion offshore cable route will be safely disposed this week following the consultation with the Marine Management Organisation...

August 9, 2016

Diamonds In The Rough: E&Ps Find New Reserves In Mature Basins

The oil industry’s history demonstrates clearly that new plays and prospects have long been found in mature basins that were thought to be well on the way to being squeezed dry. Through the acquisition of new data, developing new concepts and coming up with fresh interpretations, long-producing basins around the world from the North Sea to Malaysia have continued to reveal new riches...

August 8, 2016

Northern Shield Identifies High Quality VTEM Targets at Séquoi

Northern Shield Resources announced the results of the interpretation and modelling of the VTEM survey from the Séquoi Property in the Labrador Trough of Quebec . Séquoi is owned 100% by Northern Shield and is being explored for Noril'sk style Ni-Cu-PGE massive sulphides. After geophysical modelling and interpretation of the VTEM data from Séquoi, six VTEM anomalies of significant interest have been identified...

August 3, 2016

Rio Tinto tailors big data drive to copper

Rio Tinto will put the weight of an exploration big data push and its newly-formed Growth and Innovation group behind its desire to identify a "tier 1" copper asset. Speaking at the annual Diggers & Dealers conference in Kalgoorlie, Growth and Innovation group executive Stephen McIntosh said Australia was "overdue for a tier 1" mineral discovery of any type...

August 1, 2016

Tetra Tech Awarded $200 Million Navy CLEAN Contract

Tetra Tech announced that it has been awarded a $200 million, single-award contract by Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Atlantic. Through the Comprehensive Long-term Environmental Action Navy (CLEAN) contract, Tetra Tech will provide environmental engineering support services to installations within the NAVFAC Atlantic Area of Responsibility...

May 3, 2016

NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS), MODUM Partners announce "Young Scientist Summer School on Sea Dumped Chemical Weapons"

This international project cooperates closely with CHEMSEA (Search and Assessment of Chemical Weapons) Project for and sharing and knowledge transfer...

April 12, 2016

Monday mad rush for gold stocks

Renewed optimism about the outlook for gold saw investors pile back into gold stocks, pushing many stock to 52-week highs in heavy volumes...

April 11, 2016

Medgold Resources: Continues to Expand the Boticas Gold Project, Portugal; Proposes $200,000 Private Placement

Medgold Resources is pleased to announce new assay results from contiguous rock-chip sampling from the Limarinho South zone at its Boticas gold project in Portugal, which include a highlight of 6.0m @ 5.7 g/t Au...

April 8, 2016

De-carbonizing our energy sector

Nuclear energy currently provides around 11 percent of the world's electricity. China, the European Union, the United States, India, Russia, South Korea, and other nations’ have major existing fleets...

April 1, 2016

Follow-Up Drilling Results Indicate Wide Gold Zones at Hendricks Gold Discovery

Gascoyne Resources Limited announced that it has received the final assay results from the 10,000 metre aircore exploration drilling programme...

March 26, 2016

The Oil Market Is Finally Hitting Its Breaking Point

After a significant reduction in investments over the past two years, oil companies can no longer overcome the production declines from legacy wells...

March 15, 2016

N-Sea Expands into the French Offshore Wind Industry

Subsea IMR provider, N-Sea, has signed a letter of intent with CERES Recherches & Expertise Sous-Marine and TechSub Industrie Environement, to provide subsea survey, installation and remediation services to the French offshore wind industry...

March 9, 2016

PDAC 2016 Convention Exceeds 22,000 Attendees

Optimism and opportunity abounded at the PDAC 2016 Convention of The Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada in spite of recent industry challenges...

March 3, 2016

6 Alpha Launches EOD Contracting Division

6 Alpha Associates, a specialist risk consultancy practice, with expertise in the assessment and management of unexploded ordnance, has launched a dedicated explosive ordnance disposal division...

Using Software for Workflow Management

Alex Levitski

A lot has been written recently about the drastic changes taking place in the mineral exploration industry. Most of these changes are due to the fact that the exploration community has stumbled onto the proverbial “information super-highway”. The focus is shifting from data collection to working with data to achieve project outcomes. There already is a whole bunch of geo-data, of all kinds and shapes, accumulated in various archives and storages. The tricky part is finding these data, making them compatible with one another, and processing them in an effective and consistent way. The resulting data set guides you to your exploration targets. Not surprisingly, the geo-software market is flooded with tools that support this new approach: gridding applications such as Surfer, GIS such as ArcGIS and MapInfo, and highly specialized, power mapping systems such as Oasis montaj.

These data management applications enable you to harness the different types of data to achieve your goal. What about the different types of users? What, for example, will happen if you give a geoscientist several chunks of data in different formats and ask him or her to process these data? Given time and a proper set of tools, he or she will convert, sort, filter, and otherwise tweak the data, and finally present them to the world in a uniform format that will make perfect exploration sense – to this geoscientist. In all likelihood, this format will not make the same sense to any of his or her colleagues. On the other hand, if you give the same set of data to several different geoscientists, they will most probably re-process and use these data in totally different ways.

A direct consequence of the exploration community joining the IT-ruled world is division of responsibilities. Gone are the days when the same bearded geo-genius would plan a survey, do the field work, and then process the collected data and write a report. Today, surveys are planned by suit-and-tie office dwellers, field measurements are performed by designated field teams, and the data are processed by number-crunchers at a computer center. All the above individuals do not necessarily work in the same office and meet twice a day by the coffee machine. They might be (and often are) in the different cities, countries, and even time zones. They might not know each other personally. They might come from totally different educational and professional backgrounds. The only way to make the data flow from one team to the other consistent and efficient is to instill rigid processing rules – in other words, to use workflow management.

Several months ago, I was contracted by a North European exploration company to carry out a geophysical survey, and assist in a geochemical survey, at their gold-bearing concession in East Africa. In the concession region, gold is associated with disseminated sulphides hosted in quartz veins, which are located in certain rock types within the local metamorphic belt. Strategically, not a very complex task: magnetic measurements to delineate geological structures, then IP over the structurally promising areas to find the sulphide-rich zones, then soil and rock sampling for gold over the sulphides.

The real complexity was introduced by my customer’s organizational structure and by my position within it. I was stuck between the very old-school, methodical, “by-the-book” European management, and a vigorous, inexperienced, slightly fatalistic African field team. My duties included training the field team in the necessary data acquisition techniques, receiving and processing the field data in Toronto, and submitting reports and recommendations to the management.

The management’s approach to any task was “The rules must be observed. If the task takes a month instead of a week – so be it.” Conversely, the field team’s approach to the same task was “The job must be done before the end of the working day. If some rules get bent or broken in the process – so be it.” My approach – forged in Russia and hardened in Canada – is “The result must make sense and be ready by the deadline. If this means a sleepless night or two – so be it.” It was clear that, to bring all of us to a common denominator, we had to have a well-defined workflow. I ordered Geosoft’s Oasis montaj software and got busy building this workflow.

Oasis montaj offers a rich layer of features that can be used to define and instill workflows. Some of the features I used were:
  • Database and map templates – a template unambiguously defines how the data are imported, stored, processed, presented, and exported. If all the involved parties use the same template, you are not likely to be surprised by date/time values presented as integers in a database, or spend hours wondering why the Northern half of your site is shown in a map in ARC 1960, and the Southern half in WGS-84.

  • Sets of default values for databases, grids, maps, etc. – serve as a safety net for those operations and entities not covered by templates. If one group along the workflow chain introduces an exotic entity, such as multi-component 3D view, using default values, another group can easily decipher and reproduce that entity.

  • Quality control tool (for IP data) – helps quickly identify and analyze invalid or questionable field data. For example, one of the tricks IP might play is including negative potential values in the IP curve. The minus sign in these values is not apparent on the IP receiver screen. The montaj QC tool makes these values stand out.

  • “Locking” mechanism for database columns – prevents users from making inadvertent changes to the column values. This is a foolproof method to preserve the “vanilla” field data across the numerous interpretation procedures.

So far, the established workflow is doing its job – keeping everybody gainfully busy, and delivering results across the globe on time and with little need for explanations. The measure of success, as I see it, is the average number of weekly phone calls from one team to another – it is pretty close to zero. Hopefully, our workflow will hold when gold starts showing in the survey area and fun begins for real.