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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...

Optimizing Geophysical Data Management

Barrick Gold adopts a targeted solution for sharing its geophysical exploration data and knowledge, locally and globally

By Carmela Burns

As the world’s largest gold producer, Barrick has maintained its lead by keeping a sharp focus on discovery - constantly exploring for new reserves to replace production. Being the best at finding those new deposits is a key driver behind the company’s efforts to organize its rich resources of exploration data, and make data more readily available to project teams leading the discovery effort.

Barrick has amassed huge amounts of data over its 27 years of existence. Up to 80% of the data utilized across the lifecycle of a project exploration lifecycle, from initial exploration and appraisal to development, production and closure, is geospatial data. In the first few stages of the lifecycle, it’s primarily geoscientific datasets – with geophysics and geology being the two major sources of information that define sub-surface structure and conditions. Engineering data is used mainly in the development, production, and decommissioning stages.

To ensure the data is fully utilized throughout the lifecycle, Barrick has established a strategy to better organize and serve its geospatial data throughout the company. The initiative has provided an opportunity to take a fresh look at their data management practices, and target opportunities to optimize how datasets are found and utilized within their exploration team.

Improving geophysical data management at Barrick’s Elko operation in Nevada presented just such a targeted opportunity.

Freeing up geophysical exploration resources

Within large exploration companies, it’s not unusual to have a few geophysical specialists generating analysis, interpretations and other products from geophysical data for global exploration projects.

Airborne and ground geophysical surveys provide a wealth of information that supports prospect generation, aids target selection and helps project geologists make quicker and less risky decisions. Finding, reformatting and importing the large geophysical databases and grids, to make them useful for projects, often involves multiple steps and  consumes time that’s better spent developing knowledge to support discovery.

When Barrick’s exploration division decided to implement a new geophysical data management solution in Elko, Nevada, they wanted to free their geophysicists to focus on discovery by improving the way data is stored, searched and retrieved.

Elko is the exploration office closest to Barrick’s Goldstrike mining complex along the Carlin Trend, the most prolific gold mining district in North America. Goldstrike, first developed in the 1980s, consists of one open pit mine and two underground mines along the same mineralized trend. Exploration by Barrick on the property has been ongoing for about 25 years.

While the data at Elko were well managed overall, manual processes meant that the geophysicists were spending a significant portion of their day searching for data, and preparing it to meet the requirements of data consumers within the organization.

“We had the opportunity to start from scratch, and we had a manageable volume of geophysical data, most of it already online in Geosoft Databases, Geosoft Grid or ERMapper Grid formats” says Jared Townsend, one of two geophysicists in the Elko office, and a project lead for the Geophysical information management solution .

“We felt we could improve overall productivity by organizing our data within a server environment, where we could automatically deal with things like validation, QA and metadata entry for data management, and re-projection of data for efficient project use,” said Townsend.

Creating a Central Repository

Barrick partnered with Geosoft to plan and implement their geophysical Exploration Information Management Solution (EIMS), based on the company’s experience with geophysical workflows, and its DAP Server technology which is designed to store and serve up large geophysical and exploration datasets.

Elko’s geophysical data was catalogued within a centralized DAP Server environment which included built-in validation and automated metadata tools. Data quality assurance was an important focus in the initial phase of deployment. Although the data was well managed, the built-in validation system identified pockets of data that were inaccessible or lacked associated metadata.

Once all the data were validated and organized within a central repository, Barrick gained an enriched dataset, better data integrity through the built-in validation structure, and a system for providing efficient, global access to the database.

Improving knowledge sharing and retention

With significant volumes of historical data collected over years of active exploration in Nevada, the new solution has provided Barrick with the ability to retain and share exploration knowledge as well as data.

The geophysical EIMS has allowed existing staff to delve into ongoing projects and historical data, on-demand.  It has made it easier to bring new team members up to speed on available data resources for active projects. There’s also no more risk of losing project information stored on individual desktops, or losing project momentum, should team members be reassigned to a different project or regional office.

“We have a data system that’s well organized and easily shared across the organization, so that even if a geophysicist was to transfer offices or move on to another project someone else would be able to come in and pick up where they left off,” says Townsend. “It's a data resource that we can all use as required.”

Efficiencies gained

The key motivation for this solution was to free Barrick’s Elko-based geophysics team to focus on assessing targets and making discoveries instead of finding and handling data. Has it delivered?

With the new solution, geophysicists at Elko and those from Barrick’s other exploration offices around the world have been able to access the Elko data faster, through a secure, self-serve environment for the first time.

One of the main advantages of the geophysical EIMS is that metadata is no longer stored separately in a TAB file, but is integrated with the data, streamlining manual metadata capture, validation and management.

The ISO-compliant metadata solution includes a tool for creating metadata that ensures descriptors are stored with the data in standard XML format as well as in a master SQL database that enables fast cataloguing and searching, and provides scalability.

As a result, the geophysicists have direct access to the metadata associated with geophysical surveys, and can now devote the time and resources used to capture and handle metadata to more valuable work.

Another benefit of the solution is greater security through an access tool that prevents data from being mistakenly deleted. Standardizing data management processes, and automating manual procedures, has further reduced the risk of human errors, promoting a high level of confidence in the data being delivered.

Prospects for the future

It is expected that the observations and learnings at Elko will benefit Barrick geophysical exploration teams in other regions, including Perth and Santiago. The company is considering expansion of their geophysical EIMS to incorporate geophysical data in other regions. “Following the successful implementation of the geophysical EIMS in Elko Exploration, we are looking to extend the system to our regional office in Perth,” said Barry Bourne, Chief Geophysicist, Global Exploration.

With the new system in place, it is now possible to spatially reference all the geophysical surveys, allowing the geophysics team and exploration managers to know what data exists in reference to a geographic location. This will be especially useful when assessing new prospects within the area.

Barrick’s new geophysical EIMS in Elko is a good example of how mining exploration companies can adopt a targeted solution to their data management challenges that saves both time and aggravation and, ultimately, increases their odds of exploration success both locally and globally.

“It’s a big advantage to have all of our data in one place, referenced and accessible from around the globe and in the field,” says Townsend.