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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

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...

February 10, 2016

Cameco's new uranium discovery revealed

Canada's top uranium producer has a significant new discovery nearby to one of its largest existing mines...

February 9, 2016

NexGen Drills Most Intense Mineralization to Date at Arrow

NexGen announces further results from its on-going six rig 30,000 m winter 2016 drill program on its 100% owned Rook I Property in the Athabasca Basin, Saskatchewan...

February 9, 2016

Rio Tinto scales up its big data ambitions

Rio Tinto is opening its "vast troves" of exploration data to junior explorers in the hopes they will help sift for opportunities and supply ideas and labour...

February 8, 2016

Online portal improves access to geoscience data from Africa

The Botswana Geoscience Institute is launching a Geoscience Portal...

February 8, 2016

5 Best Minerals & Fossils To Buy With Your IRS Tax Refund

You just got your IRS tax refund and now you're presented with some cash to go out and buy one of a kind minerals and fossils from your local...

February 5, 2016

World's largest offshore windfarm to be built off Yorkshire coast

Dong Energy makes final investment decision on 1.2-gigawatt project that will power more than a million UK homes...

February 2, 2016

World's top 10 rookie gold mines

These high-grade mines will soon start competing with gold mining's industry leaders ...

January 25, 2016

Exxon Mobil Corp's defiant outlook predicts Canadian and Venezuelan oilsands output will 'quadruple' over next 24 years

In sharp contrast to the grim medium-term prognosis for the Canadian oilsands, Exxon Mobil Corp. is predicting sunnier times for bitumen in the decades ahead...

January 23, 2016

Magnetic Survey Keeps Cost Down

At a contaminated furniture factory site in North Carolina, a reconnaissance magnetic survey was conducted toward the end of a Phase 2 investigation ...

Lake Sediment Sampling Program Helps Detect
Mineral Potential

By Virginia Heffernan

Teams of provincial geoscientists are fanning out across Canada this summer for a fresh season of mapping and sampling that should detect undiscovered areas of mineral potential. And create a whole lot of new data.

One of the main projects within the sedimentary geoscience section of the Ontario Geological Survey (OGS), for instance, is a multi-year lake sediment sampling program that is building a geochemical picture of northern Ontario.

Under the program, the OGS has been collecting tens of thousands of samples from the more than 250,000 lakes that dot Ontario in order to support mineral exploration and provide high-quality baseline geochemical data.

Over the past 20 years, the high-density sampling (about one sample per 3 km2) has covered about a third of the province. OGS geochemist Richard Dyer estimates he will collect about 2,000 lake sediment samples over an area of 6,000 square kilometers this summer alone.

The resulting dataset is becoming so large that using conventional tools to display the information can be painstakingly slow.

As a result, the OGS has created an add-on to Google Earth called OGS Earth that allows even novice users to integrate multiple geological data layers such as lake sediment sample results, geology, topography and cultural information in virtual 3-D, quickly and easily.

But for more sophisticated interpretation, the OGS will use Geosoft's recently released Geochemistry for ArcGIS extension to analyze the lake sediment data within a GIS environment.

The new extension allows geoscientists to examine multivariate relationships, uncover underlying structures, identify outliers and anomalies, and present results on maps that are both visually striking and informative.

The software contributes to a smooth workflow - from importing the data, through to quality control, analysis, and integration of other datasets and finally to visualization in a way that is meaningful to colleagues, managers and mining companies.

"We're able to take the data from the lab with very minor manipulation, extract the standards, plot it up and immediately start working with data using one program," says Dyer. "Before, we had to bring the data into (Microsoft) Excel, massage it, then bring it into (Microsoft) Access, run some queries, spit the data out again and bring it back into Excel. If there was any problem along the way, you'd have to go back to square one."

Dyer sees the extension proving useful for the OGS's other regional geochemical sampling programs, including an ongoing groundwater sampling project in southern Ontario.

Geoscientists at the Manitoba Geological Survey are equally eager to try out the geochemistry extension on their new sampling initiative in the Flin Flon greenstone belt. Working in collaboration with Ryan Morelli at the Saskatchewan Northern Geological Survey, Manitoba's Renée-Luce Simard will look under the Paleozoic cover rocks to find new VMS deposit potential in the prolific base metal-rich belt that straddles the provincial border.

The Flin Flon and Snow Lake districts host numerous world-class VMS deposits, including four operating mines (Callinan, Triple 7, Trout Lake, and Chisel North), many past-producing mines, and several unexploited deposits, including the newly-discovered Lalor deposit. All of them are located in the portion of the belt where the Precambrian host rocks are exposed.

To the south, the host rocks dive under up to 300 metres of Paleozoic limestone, making exploration more challenging. Still, both the provincial surveys and mining companies working in the area believe it is only a matter of time and technology before equally rich deposits are found beneath the cover rocks. 

Geophysics and follow-up drilling are the traditional methods used for finding buried deposits, but subsurface geochemistry also has a story to tell. Simard will be investigating the geochemistry of existing drill holes in order to piece together a map of the subsurface that – in combination with the geology and geophysics - will serve as a guide to further drilling.

The project is funded in part by the GSC's Targeted Geoscience Initiative (TGI) designed to lead to new discoveries in established mining communities. It stretches from the Flin-Flon Creighton area on the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border to Lynn Lake further north and involves targeted bedrock and surficial mapping, airborne geophysics, seismic exploration and geochemistry.

Simard's team is involved in the third phase of the project, designed to develop methods to detect geochemical signatures of the buried VMS deposits.
"There is a lot data and that's where the Geosoft extension will be fantastic," says Simard. "There are over three thousand drill holes in the sub-Phanerozoic. The companies have been sharing the geochemistry for these drill holes with us, so at up to twenty-five samples per hole, that's a lot of data to sort through."

Because the holes are widely distributed over hundreds of kilometres and there is no exposure at surface, it can be difficult to pinpoint sample locations. This is where Simard sees the geochemistry extension being especially useful.

"There is software out there that allows us to display the geochemistry on an x-y scatterplot or triangular plot to get the geochemical signature of the sample, but you don't know which sample has which signature because there is no link to your map" says Simard. "With the Geosoft software, when we select samples on the scatter diagram they are automatically highlighted on the map. That's a powerful tool."

 Simard will be using the geochemistry extension in combination with Target for ArcGIS in order to come up with a 3-D interpretation of the subsurface and even produce new geological models for areas that have higher-density drilling. And as the baby boomer generation of government geologists retires, Simard sees a need for preserving the old data and making it relevant to incoming geologists.

"We have a lot of legacy issues in the sense that people that are retiring have huge datasets and knowledge of an area that need to be passed on." she says.  "The traditional solution would be to find the geochemistry database, go back to the notes, go back to the map and then plot each and every sample. The geochemistry extension does 95% of this work for us. You can make an association between the geochemical signature and the map, even if you've never been there or weren't the one who collected the samples."

Government surveys at both the national and regional level are becoming guardians of an increasing amount of data that needs to be readily accessible and easily displayed by industry and other stakeholders. Innovations in software and technology are helping them to provide that level of service.