Mining exploration can call on many different types of expertise, depending on factors like location, soil type, deposit type and terrain. The project’s requirements can also affect exploration and the way the site is operated.
Naturally, expertise means being an expert in the field! We’re a company that offers its expertise to help you successfully complete your projects, so we’re sharing an article by one of our experts, Stéphane Faure. He uses his extensive knowledge of mining exploration and geoscience to help you meet your needs.
High-tech solutions for the geosciences
Technology is currently advancing at an incredible rate. That, in turn, has helped advance and evolve the geosciences over the past few years. These advances fall under two major categories.
The first category involves the changes to geological models over the past few years. Several determining factors have influenced these models recently, such as the source and transport of gold. These enhanced models can guide exploration and help us better understand the deposits we work on.
The other category is computers’ ability to process more and more information. Advances like 3D software mean that we can now see deposits in 3 dimensions. The algorithms for this software play an important role in interpolating gold grades and similar elements. This lets us better understand the geometry of ore bodies, helping us calculate resources.
The future in geosciences
The future of geoscience holds many other advances, but also challenges. The biggest challenge will be deep exploration. While there are surface deposits yet to be discovered, we now need to go deep, drilling and using more and more instruments to measure the geophysical and chemical properties of rocks. Geochemical data is accumulated through data collection and core observation, and we’ll eventually end up with a lot of information. All of this information will have to be stored and analyzed by computers. This is where artificial intelligence (AI) comes into play. Continuous readings along a borehole that’s more than 2 km long will create a lot of data. AI will be needed to digest this large volume of information and create links between the data. We know that AI is growing rapidly in Montreal. Tech giants are now all working with this cutting-edge technology, and it will undoubtedly spread to the field of geology as well.
In fact, you may be wondering if people in the industry are already using AI. The answer is yes. Companies like Géotic are already working with this technology and are collaborating with a firm to develop the AI. It works by teaching the drill core photos to identify rock and alteration types, allowing all of the information from drill cores to be processed. The technology can also be used to analyze photos from the past. In medicine and radiology, AI is used to detect tumours. Something similar can be done in geology.
People in the industry are open to these technologies. Some companies are already working with AI programs. With this information at their disposal, mining companies aren’t afraid to invest an additional $5 to $10 per metre of drilled core. This represents only a minimal percentage compared to the metre drilled, about $200, for continuous and unbiased quantitative information.
Geoscience: a vast and complex field
Since geoscience is a vast multidisciplinary field and geoscientists each have their own specialties, not everyone knows how to use and interpret the information from geochemical or geophysics databases, for example. However, it’s very important to know how to use this data and make the most of it. For that, you need people who are familiar with geophysics, geochemistry or geostatistics to work with these types of databases.
The expertise provided by InnovExplo, particularly in geology and geostatistics, is used to analyze and interpret multivariate data. It requires a thorough understanding of many different types of software, since these programs are increasingly sophisticated and involve different areas of geology. For that reason, it’s necessary to learn to work with this wide range of software.
In general, our work consists of using company databases to produce a geological or resource model. The internal experts all have their specialties. The geoscientific expert is responsible for the geological part of the mandate. They need to have a good understanding of the deposit with the data provided, so they perform field visits to determine whether the information (which is collected through drilling or brushing) is accurate. Next, they need to make a 3D geological model that shows how the gold is distributed. All of this information describes the volume and what the gold is associated with. This, in turn, lets us use fundamental geology to learn where the gold is, in what type of alteration or rock it is found or what type of structure we’re dealing with. Colleagues who are resource experts then take over to assess the quantity and value of gold in a deposit. In other words, this is a multidisciplinary task—a team effort.
Providing concrete and in-depth geoscientific information
If we’re addressing the major challenges in our work today, we’re doing so to acquire as much information as possible, which we can then use and analyze to give it added value. Our work is driven by the desire to provide additional information to our clients or identify previously undiscovered information in their deposits or geological maps. In short, we’re constantly looking for new information. Deposits are discovered and analyzed thanks to a multidisciplinary team. Similarly, a combination of factors makes it possible to find a deposit in the first place. When we provide people with additional information, they start asking themselves questions and checking and better understanding their databases and geological models. This is our constant challenge, to provide in-depth information.
After exploration, clients require management services. They use our services, particularly in Abitibi, in the exploration and understanding stages of the deposit itself. With the experience we have acquired in a variety of geological contexts, in Abitibi, Central America and elsewhere in the world, and through our participation in the Mineral Exploration Research Consortium (CONSOREM), we have seen a wide range of deposits and met people from a number of different companies. These have allowed us to have exchanges and discussions with a multitude of geologists, showing us the variety of deposits and geological contexts. This, in turn, enriches and broadens our vision of the geosciences. Thus, by drawing on this vast experience and examining databases, geological maps and deposits, we can refer to models that exist elsewhere not just in Abitibi, but around the world. This contributes to a better understanding of geology.
To learn more about the services offered by Stéphane Faure and other InnovExplo experts: