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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...

Areva takes strategic approach to exploration information management

Areva Resources Southern Africa pilots standard technology platform for managing and optimizing the use of their exploration information assets in South Africa.

By Virginia Heffernan

When France’s Areva, the world leader in technological solutions for nuclear power generation, acquired UraMin in mid-2007, the Canadian company was a junior success story.

UraMin had picked up some low-grade concessions in Namibia near the huge Rossing mine when the uranium price was still relatively low and proceeded to build its African portfolio. A rising uranium price made those acquisitions increasingly valuable and attractive to Areva, which was looking to diversify its resource base and secure longterm uranium supplies.

Renamed Areva Resources Southern Africa, the new subsidiary is expected to provide Areva with 7,000 tonnes of uranium per annum by 2012. Starting later this year, production will come from three main deposits: Trekkopje in Namibia, Bakouma in the Central African Republic and Ryst Kuil in South Africa.

Today, Areva South Africa has an impressive portfolio of exploration projects throughout the continent that are benefitting from Areva’s rare combination of expertise in uranium deposits and African exploration.

But while project diversity is a blessing in exploration, it can also create data management challenges. In 2007, the company recognized it needed a better way to handle and share its exploration data to improve productivity and ensure project managers had access to the best available information.

Typical of many global mining companies, Areva’s exploration geoscientists used several different software packages with no efficient way to integrate or share their knowledge and information. Meanwhile, the company’s data managers were getting bogged down with incoming data that – with the right tools and some training – the geoscientists in the field could manage. And visual presentations to the company’s decision-makers were not as clear and comprehensible as they could be.

They partnered with Geosoft to take a more strategic approach to Exploration Information Management that would establish a complete technology solution and new standards for managing and effectively using all their exploration data assets in South Africa.

Olivier Masset, Manager of Resources and GIS, and Nozuko Mani, GIS Manager with Areva South Africa, led the needs assessment and business strategy for the exploration technology initiative.

"We were spending a huge amount of time in data handling, manipulation and QC and we wanted a streamlined system with tools to empower data creators with self-managing their own data tasks," says Mani.

Given the diversity of software packages being used in the field and different offices, and the fact that they had a variety of data repositories, integration was also crucial. "At the end of it, we wanted a simplified view of the different datasets for our managers, and a common way to access data for our geologists working on projects," says Masset.

The anchor for Areva’s Exploration Information Management solution is Geosoft’s DAP server technology, which has allowed Areva’s geoscientists access to data on demand from a single interface instead of having to tap into separate repositories for information.

Integration with their Datamine MineTrust, Maxwell Datashed and LeaseControl systems expanded the breadth of data available to explorationists throughout the organization.

"Our DAP server is enabling us to build a library of maps and information for each project that we can share not only with geologists within our group, but with all exploration groups within our company," says Masset.

Areva South Africa has also standardized on common tools for their exploration projects: Geosoft’s Oasis Montaj for advanced mapping and data processing of geophysics, geology and geochemistry; Target and Target for ArcGIS to create sections and 3-D models for subsurface (drillhole) data within their ArcGIS environment.

The tight integration between Geosoft exploration software and ESRI’s ArcGIS has been critical, and it’s meant that Areva geologists are able to access, explore and work with their data directly within their ArcGIS or Geosoft environment, depending on the project they are working on. Exchange of maps and data between the two environments is also fast and efficient with ArcGIS built into the Geosoft mapping platform.

Together, these tools have provided Areva Resources’ multi-disciplinary exploration team in South Africa with a suite of spatial analysis tools that improve workflow by increasing efficiency, making decision-making easier and supporting better communication between project team members and management.

The improved productivity that comes from managing and sharing exploration information efficiently is seen as a key business benefit.

"Our Geosoft and GIS software helped us to map everything out and manage our projects more effectively," says Olivier Masset, manager of resources and GIS for Areva Resources Southern Africa. "We can combine and consider not only the geology, but all the relevant project information. That accelerates our decision-making on – for instance – where to focus our exploration or whether to start drilling or resample."

He says that before Areva Resources introduced the Geosoft software to its field offices, data would be sent to head office in Johannesburg, where it would be made into sections and field maps before being sent back to the field. Using common exploration tools, the geoscientists can now complete these tasks in the field, saving time at head office and allowing project managers to make immediate decisions about where to explore next.

Masset is particularly enthusiastic about the ability to integrate data from the field into the exploration model, continuously providing his team with added information and fresh perspectives on the mineral potential of a particular project.

Data mobility is also an important advantage. With their solution, managers and geologists can move from region to region and still have easy access to data housed in the DAP server in Johannesburg.

"Access to information and the ability to share information in real time is important to us" says Masset. "The ability to do this on a global basis, where someone from southern Africa can go to Canada and find the same data, is a competitive advantage that enables us to be more flexible and quicker in developing our projects."

Compatibility with other programs, not only within the Geosoft suite but from other software providers (e.g. AutoCAD), is another feature that makes the job easier for Mani. "As a person managing the company’s GIS database which stores critical information about 3D maps, borehole plans and sections for analysis, I would say Geosoft has enormous capabilities, including bringing in data from different formats used in the mining and exploration industry."

"We’re encouraged with our progress," says Mani. "As more geologists and managers are trained on the new tools, they are gaining confidence in the quality of the data and their ability to extract information from their data. There’s no doubt this will impact our ability to develop our projects and make meaningful decisions."

As a result, Areva has made its new Southern African subsidiary a test pilot for establishing a common platform for exploration including protocols, best practices and software tools that are standard across the organization.

If proven successful, the common exploration platform Areva Southern Africa is striving to create could become a model not only for its parent company, but for the mining sector as well.