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Earth Explorer is an online source of news, expertise and applied knowledge for resource explorers and earth scientists.
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News & Views

News Archive

July 30, 2014

In Quebec, the energy future of the North is blowing in the wind

An ambitious multi-year trial is set to begin on what promoters are calling Canada’s first industrial-scale wind power and energy storage facility - a wind turbine generation and stockpiling system that will help power Glencore Plc’s Raglan nickel-copper mine on the Ungava Peninsula...

July 28, 2014

These New Gravity Maps Give Us An Entirely New Understanding Of The Moon

In 2012, NASA rang in the New Year with a fresh mission - sending the Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory, also known as GRAIL, spacecraft to the moon. As the first endeavor intended to study lunar gravity, its findings would help scientists better understand how rocky planets, like Earth, formed...

July 21, 2014

HPC's Role in Energy Exploration

How high-performance computing helps companies track down hidden fields of oil and natural gas. The easy oil and gas has already been extracted, and sophisticated discovery and extraction techniques are needed to extend production...

July 20, 2014

ENI signs deal to expand oil, gas exploration in Congo

Italian oil and gas group Eni said it signed a deal to explore for hydrocarbons in the Republic of Congo's coastal basin, expanding its foothold in sub-Saharan Africa's No. 4 oil producer...

July 20, 2014

Cameco: Light At The End Of The Japanese Tunnel?

Declining Japanese bond spreads bode well for the supply/demand dynamics of the uranium market and uranium stocks such as Cameco...

July 20, 2014

The tiger roars as the dragon sleeps

India's coal demand could hit 787 million t this year, according to coal and power minister, Piyush Goyal, with imports required to make up a more-than 200 million shortfall in domestic production...

July 14, 2014

Geosoft previews new Voxel Assisted Layered Earth Modelling technology for imaging base of salt

Geosoft previewed new Voxel Assisted Layered Earth Modelling (VALEM) technology at the EAGE 2014 in Amsterdam. Delivered within Geosoft’s GM-SYS 3D gravity and magnetic modelling environment, VALEM is a cloud-based gravity inversion service that improves imaging of base of salt and sub-salt regions...

June 30, 2014

Digital Tools for Mines Help Maintain a Competitive Edge

Many mining executives are convinced there’s really no alternative: either join the industry’s quickening interest in digital technology or risk losing ground...

June 24, 2014

Hottest lava eruption linked to growth of first continents

A collaborative research team has discovered an important link between the eruption of Earth's hottest lavas, the location of some of the largest ore deposits and the emergence of the first land masses on the planet - the continents - more than 2500 million years ago...

June 16, 2014

Drilling activity near Chibougamau: More than just Monster Lake

Quebec's historical Chibougamau mining district, located within the prolific Abitibi Greenstone Belt, is attracting renewed attention. Against a background of lackluster gold prices and generally low levels of exploration activity worldwide, one of the most recent market-dominating announcements came from the Monster Lake joint venture among IAMGOLD Corp. (50%), TomaGold Corp. (45%), and Quinto Real (5%)...

April 2, 2014

TGDG Mini-Symposium on Mexico Exploration

On April 9, the TGDG is presenting a mini-symposium on Mexico Exploration: Finding the Treasure of the Sierra Madre and more. A portion of this event is being broadcast online free of charge...

Etruscan raises the bar at its Youga Mine in Burkina Faso

Project Geologist Geoff Day speaks to Etruscan's expanding exploration portfolio and the difference developing and sharing local knowledge has made.

As the first bars of gold are poured at Etruscan's Youga deposit in Burkina Faso, project geologist Geoff Day reflects on the company's progress in bringing Youga from an exploration project to a producing gold mine - and how they plan to replicate that success.

One thing is for sure. Etruscan's strength in developing and sharing exploration knowledge is an advantage that will continue to play heavily in their developing projects.

From a starting point in Niger 13 years ago, Etruscan is now one of the largest mineral rights holders in Western Africa. With a property portfolio that spans thousands of square kilometres, the new gold producer manages a growing assemblage of exploration programs in Burkina Faso, Cte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Namibia, Niger, and South Africa.

Panoramic view of the Etruscan's Youga Plant

Panoramic view of the Etruscan's Youga Plant

"Our focus, from the start, has been on developing exploration teams in the countries within which we operate," said Mr. Day. "Key to this is finding local personnel with experience and knowledge of the country, its administrative policies and local geology. There's a lot of value in having people on our team who might have walked over the prospective ground we are exploring."

Based in Etruscan's head office in Nova Scotia, Mr. Day manages the company's data hub, a growing corporate map database that stores and provides not only information but knowledge embedded in plan maps, two dimensional exploration maps, drilling plan maps and drill sections for advanced analysis.

Drilling activity from the feasibility drilling program for Youga

Drilling activity from the feasibility drilling program for Youga

While some explorers are content to move from project to project using the tools at hand, Etruscan has taken care to establish simple corporate guidelines, and a common exploration platform to support its project development. This has ensured it can easily capture and share the rich experience and knowledge being developed.

Etruscan adopted Geosoft as their corporate exploration management platform in 1995, and this is the standard that is maintained to date. "We've found it easy to use Geosoft as our corporate standard because we're able to bring in information from any of the main GIS and resource systems used in exploration," said Mr. Day.

"Geosoft is able to bring in MapInfo files, ArcGIS files, AutoCAD DXF files and a very wide range of remotely sensed data products. It can also bring in files from Surpac and other resource packages. It's very flexible in that respect."

Inherently when you are collecting historical data and obtaining data products from local government agencies you will encounter many different formats. Having software that can import the disparate data formats used in the industry has definitely aided in rapid compilation of information and target generation, according to Mr. Day.

As important, it has also made data sharing between the field and managers faster, easier and more productive.

"It's taken for granted that when someone makes a map at the project site and sends it to one of the local managers or Canada, they're going be able to open it at the other end and see exactly what the geologist sees in the field," said Mr. Day. "They quickly understand what is being presented, as opposed to struggling to recreate a map or section using a different platform."

Youga deposit drill plan, with a soil geochemistry target underlay, created in Geosoft Target

Youga deposit drill plan, with a soil geochemistry target underlay, created in Geosoft Target.

Etruscan has been exploring for gold and diamonds in Africa for more than 13 years. Now the junior has just made the significant leap from explorer to producer first as a JV partner at the Samira gold mine in Niger and now by opening its Youga gold mine in Burkina Faso in March 2008.

Etruscan used Geosoft Target as the principle exploration platform at its Youga gold mine both during the feasibility stage and currently while developing additional resources outside the mine site, to monitor the progress of drilling programs. Now Youga is an 88,000 ounce-per-year producer with an expected mine life of six and a half years.

Mr. Day said Target's most useful features include being able to make clean and informative colour contour images from 2-D geochemical and geophysical data and, by using the map and section modules, visualize deposits during drilling campaigns.

Those features will become increasingly useful as the company continues to expand on African soil. Having just poured its first gold at Youga, Etruscan is working towards mining its Agbaou gold deposit in Cte d'Ivoire, where resources add up to more than one million ounces of gold. A feasibility study is currently underway in preparation for production in 2010.

Gold bars produced at Etruscan's Youga Mine in March, 2008

Gold bars produced at Etruscan's Youga Mine in March, 2008

The company, with JV partner Resolute Mining Limited, is also starting a deep drilling program at the Finkolo gold project in Mali, where resources have increased by 53% to close to 750,000 ounces. And at the Blue Gum diamond project in South Africa, a potential alluvial diamond producer, a prefeasibility study is currently underway.

As Etruscan continues to grow, with the aim of starting a second gold mine in Cte d'Ivoire in 2010, it needs the capability to adapt to the company's larger and increasingly complex datasets.

"As the company builds it's portfolio of exploration projects and the scope of our corporate database increases, we will be migrating towards the integration of ArcGIS," says Mr. Day. "With Target for ArcGIS, we can continue to use Geosoft for drilling data management, 2D interpolation and color contour image visualization in this integrated environment."