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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...

Berkeley advances its uranium exploration projects in Spain with aggressive drilling campaign

Exploration Manager Jim Royall explains how Berkeley Resources honed its expertise in pinpointing modern uranium targets in Spain .

When Berkeley Resources decided to pursue uranium exploration in Spain in 2005, the Australian company faced an interesting dilemma: access to a rich database of historical information about its portfolio of properties without the means or know-how to fully interpret it.

Berkeley was still in the early days of acquiring that expertise when it made its first discovery, Santidad, in an area untouched by previous exploration.

Using ground data it had collected as part of an environmental study, and newly acquired Geosoft exploration software to plot the radiometric data, the company zeroed in on an anomalous area. The subsequent drilling campaign intersected flat-lying uranium mineralization in 14 drill holes over a strike length of 500m and a width of approximately 150m. To date, Santidad has been drilled with close to 200 drill holes. The deposit has a strike length of over 1km and the current resource of the deposit is close to 4 million pounds of contained U3O8.

Since that first discovery, Berkeley has continued to steadily climb the learning curve of acquiring knowledge of the region's uranium geology and mineralization. And it has invested in the technology and expertise required to harvest the opportunity buried within its substantial historical database.

Berkeley's geologists are now able to select drill targets on their projects with confidence. And they can efficiently explore in any type of environment. Whether it's augmenting and extracting insight from 50 year old data in an office, or developing opportunities in the field, as with Santidad.

"We started from nothing," says Jim Royall, Berkeley's exploration manager for the Spanish projects. "Now we believe we can go into any project in Spain, drill it, and come up with a valid interpretation for what we get out of the hole. That is what sets us ahead of any competitor that might appear in Iberia."

As a result, the company is now firing on all cylinders at a time when worldwide uranium demand far exceeds supply from mine production. An aggressive drill campaign using two reverse circulation rigs and at least one diamond rig is underway, new discoveries are being made, and a recent scoping study has confirmed the potential for an economically viable mining operation at Salamanca I, the company's flagship project in the historic uranium mining district of west-central Spain.

Berkeley technical director Dr Jim Ross oversees logging.

Berkeley technical director Dr Jim Ross oversees logging.

And because Berkeley's 450,000 hectares of landholdings represent the entire exploration spectrum, from grassroots prospects to those approaching the feasibility stage, the company can move several projects along the pipeline at once.

The large historical database has required Berkeley to finely tune its processing and interpretation techniques. The mountain of data had built up over decades of uranium prospecting in the Iberian Peninsula - some of it half a century old – and Berkeley has applied considerable expertise and technology to transform it into a useful guide for modern exploration.

The available data is so extensive because Berkley's projects, which cover the main uranium mining and exploration areas in Spain, have all been investigated by reputable explorers in the past, including Areva NC and ENUSA, the Spanish national uranium company. But most of that exploration was completed at least 20 years ago and very little of the information was in digital format.

"There were massive amounts of data available," says Mr. Royall, "We didn't really understand what the data was telling us, so we've had to develop techniques to quickly process and validate existing data and then expand on it."

This has meant growing its investment in Geosoft software, to equip its geologists with a common toolset for efficiently visualizing their drill project data. Uranium exploration requires a lot of drilling to find and outline deposits and Geosoft's exploration geology software, Target, was able to process years of drill logs and turn them into 3-D sections that gave Berkeley a visual rendering of the geology and structure of the deposits they were investigating.

Three dimensional voxel of the Santidad Ore body created in Geosoft Target

Three dimensional model of the Santidad Ore body created in Geosoft Target

"One of the key issues with the Iberian deposits is their variability," explains Mr. Royall. "They have a big footprint, and the ability to view data in the third dimension has been critical in some areas."

Having the technology to handle the massive amount of data has freed the team up to focus on building its geological models. And Berkeley is working with some of the best Universities in Spain and international consultants to develop new genetic models for the Iberian deposits.

It's also helping on a day to day basis. A lot of data is collected in the course of developing a uranium project, and Target is helping to make sense of not only historical data, but the constant stream of new data coming in from airborne radiometric and magnetic surveys, ground scintillometer work, and finally, boreholes. For each hole it drills, Berkeley collects lithological, structural, and geotechnical information as well as down-the-hole scintillometer readings that can determine if the subsurface is radioactive or not.

Being able to fully develop its projects within one environment has been key to keeping this painstaking process efficient.

Map of Salamanca 1 drill targets

Map of Salamanca 1 drill targets

"We don't have to jump across a spectrum of packages, because we're able to do all of our exploration work within Geosoft" says Mr. Royall, "and we've found there's good compatibility with the other programs we use for our resource modeling and GIS work."

Since the company launched its exploration program in Spain, the team has grown from a handful of consultants to 25 full-time employees and 13 national and international consultants. With that rate of growth, extensive training in technology becomes a challenge.

The ease with which its young team of geologists have been able to adopt its exploration software has meant the company could rapidly develop its human resources without slowing down its fast paced exploration.

"We give the Geosoft package to all of our geologists," says Mr. Royall, "and with minimal training they can produce their own cross-sections, maps and plans for their own specific needs."

The company drilled its first hole in December 2006 and by December 2007 it had completed over 15,000m of combined RC and diamond drilling. Only mid-way through 2008 it has already drilled as much. "Our drilling program produces a massive volume of data that requires processing," says Mr. Royall "and Geosoft provides the tools to do this efficiently and quickly. It's enabled our exploration teams to spend less time processing data and more of their time interpreting it to build our understanding."