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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...

Historical data finds new life on central server: Hudbay aims to find new mine in Flin Flon camp using data already collected

by Virginia Heffernan on July 30, 2014 applied

Trips to the “vault” were once routine for geoscientists combing Hudbay Minerals’ land package in the Flin Flon camp of northern Manitoba for new deposits. The dedicated room stores more than 80 years of exploration information in floor-to-ceiling filing and map cabinets, including floppy disks, project reports and drill logs: an explorer’s treasure chest, but an inconsistent one prone to gaps, duplication and incompatibility.

Now, thanks to a new data management system, the vault is becoming obsolete but the priceless files stored within are finding new and greater value on a central server.

Since 2011, Senior GIS Specialist Kenda Kozar from Hudbay’s original headquarters in Flin Flon has been working with Geosoft to upload geophysical data onto DAP, a secure geospatial server everyone can access to catalogue and manage exploration results. Concurrently, the company is implementing Microsoft’s Sharepoint to provide document control for internal links to other exploration information (reports, drill logs, etc.) related to a particular drill hole or project area.

The exploration team believes the new system will be instrumental in reaching its main goal: to find at least one new mine in the Flin Flon camp using data already collected.

The Flin Flon camp generates data faster than weeds propagate on a prairie farm. The greenstone belt that straddles the border between northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan is one of the most prospective VMS regions in the world. More than 30 deposits rich in copper, zinc, gold and silver have been discovered there and hundreds of millions has been spent on exploration over the past century. Many mines and projects, both past and current, dot the landscape.

Hudbay has been operating in the area since 1927, when the miner incorporated to develop the Flin Flon base metal deposit, considered one the largest industrial developments in the West at that time.  While the company has since expanded into Peru, it remains active along the belt, with current claims covering an area of about 340,000 sq km. Hudbay’s 2007 discovery of the Lalor gold-copper-zinc mine - the belt’s second largest deposit - breathed new exploration promise into the region.

Over the decades, Hudbay has drilled about 17,000 holes, mostly within 300 m of surface. Geophysical data exceeds 260 gigabytes and more than 25,000 surface rock and soil samples have been collected, assayed and catalogued.

Managing the growing amounts of paper and digital data had become a monumental challenge. Geophysical information, mostly surface and borehole EM results, seismic data and some gravity and resistivity work, was saved in an unaudited folder system. Project files contained multiple versions of the same surveys as well as non-exploration files. Interpretations of results were often lost in personal e-mail folders, and paper maps in the vault were incompatible with digitized information.

But with the help of Geosoft’s data specialists, Hudbay is making progress scanning, reviewing, organizing and cleansing geophysical data, which represents the largest exploration database for the area. According to Kozar, a driving force behind the project, the company has uploaded about 80% of the information on its active projects – or 11,500 datasets - to the DAP server. In addition, about 90% of company’s raster data, the more than 20,000 maps created before 1988, has been scanned and is being georeferenced.

“While the process was similar to other engagements we have had with exploration companies at a high level, the detailed steps in the preparation stage were rather unique to Hudbay,” says Henry Wang, Geosoft’s technical lead on the project. “We had to use skilled resources and data specialists to manually review and cleanse most of the ground geophysical survey data.” To help with the task, Geosoft assembled a team in its Brazil office to review and georeference the information and enter metadata into the prepared datasets.

Having data in a central system has led to improved workflows,  team collaboration and better 3D interpretations incorporating geophysics, geology and geochemistry. Shown above: A 3D model generated with data from Hudbay’s DAP server.

Back at Hudbay’s Flin Flon office, implementing the exploration information management system (EIMS) has not been without its growing pains partly because of a natural resistance to change and partly because of the state of the exploration files.

Much of the data was stored in different formats and scales with inconsistent headings. Finding metadata proved challenging in some cases. GPS readings taken on or close to UTM boundaries had to be scrutinized for accuracy, and converting files from local grid systems was difficult.

But Hudbay’s data managers are gradually overcoming the challenges. “We have improved our workflow now that everything is in the same spot,” says Data Management Geologist Maggie Currie. “We can integrate geophysics, geology and geochemistry together to create better 3D models. And people don’t have to spend as much time manipulating the data, they can just access it and start their research.”

With much of the heavy slogging completed, Hudbay’s explorers are increasingly buying into the DAP concept, uploading and retrieving information to and from the server as routinely as they once made visits to the vault. The numbers speak for themselves: while just over 500 datasets were accessed on the server in the whole of 2012, more than 3,000 registered a hit in the first four months of 2014.

Despite the extra time required to prepare the data for upload, having a central location where all the information about the Flin Flon camp is reliable and accessible will ultimately prove rewarding. “If we took the cumulative time that everyone will save in the exploration group, not just this year but over the next five to ten years, the minimal increase in time it takes to push the information up to the server will pay for itself many times over,” says Chief Geophysicist Peter Dueck.

He says the EIMS takes some of the worry out of staff turnover, which can be high in the cyclical exploration industry. Instead of geoscientists leaving the company with a new mine stored only in their heads and/or e-mail folder, valuable information resides securely on the server with accessibility to all. And Hudbay’s geologists and geophysicists are already working more closely together because of the ease of collaboration the system provides.

“I see the integration between the three disciplines (geology, geochemistry and geophysics) becoming more commonplace,” Dueck says. “As deposits become tougher to find, that kind of collaboration will be the key to discovering our next mine”.

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