”Too often geology modelling is only commenced after the drill program is complete, and this delay is one of the most common missteps we see in the industry.Kathryn GallSenior Technical Lead, Asia Pacific
- Gain a clearer understanding of a deposit
- Ensure drill money is well spent
- Adjust exploration plans more rapidly
- Give investors the bigger picture
Exploration is getting harder and the hurdles to seeing through a successful exploration project continue to rise.
With most easy deposits already discovered, targets must be sought under progressively deeper cover, and mineralisation systems present as increasingly more complex.
Therefore the need for juniors to have a clear understanding of a deposit is more important than ever. Only then can they deliver the finds with the greatest value, while at the same time controlling costs by focusing on the most promising areas.
An up-to-date geological model can be an essential tool for junior mining exploration companies seeking to ensure that drill plan money is well spent, but they often face a twin challenge here. They must build an accurate, dynamic and updateable model, while at the same time ensuring it sits at the heart of their exploration. This doesn’t always happen. Too often geology is not even incorporated into the 3D domaining process, and geology modelling only commences after the drill program is complete and you’re back in the office…
This delay is one of the most common missteps we see in the industry in general. The junior mining exploration business in particular needs to be visualising, validating, analysing and interpreting data as it is collected in the field if you are to move fast and maximise the value of a discovery.
Let the model tell you when to move on
By making conceptual geological models the reason for drilling targets, not an afterthought, you can help your team understand when a target has failed. They can then quickly shift focus to other opportunities and areas with the greatest promise.
An accurate and well-informed geological model also helps communicate a strong vision to investors that you understand the structural and geological controls on your mineralisation, thus reducing their risk to investment. It allows you to take the information you have collected from the rocks in the field, pull them into a 3D view, and piece together this information in a way that helps investors see the bigger picture.
Build early and let Leapfrog Geo help
Any geological model is only as accurate as the information you have at the time, which is why we recommend building your geological model early in the process and employing Leapfrog Geo’s ability to dynamically update surfaces. This will ensure your geological model will always be up-to-date, reacting to the latest information to come in.
You’ll have a dynamic field model that will help identify trends and targets that might otherwise have been missed, and respond to these while still in the field.
For example at Taseko’s Gibraltar copper-molybdenum mine – the second largest open-pit copper mine in Canada – Structural Geologist Chris Gallagher was able to use Leapfrog Geo’s modelling tools to piece together a journey through the deformation event, domain by domain, and gain a clearer understanding of the complex geology. This enhanced the team’s ability to predict the distribution of copper and associated alteration assemblage as the project unfolded.
Keeping drill plans agile and reactive
Finally, a geological model that can be quickly updated as data from new drilling comes in means that drill plans can be speedily adjusted. A drill plan that is always in line with the latest understanding of the deposit ensures maximum value for each drill hole. It also demonstrates to investors that you have a responsive team that can react to this changing and deepening understanding of the deposit; a team primed to switch gears and take advantage of new potential when it arises.
Reaction time is key, and to help juniors stay agile and stand the greatest chance of success in the field, we’ve collected the thoughts of Seequent’s geological discovery experts to create our “Six Steps to Better Exploration for Juniors” eBook.
You can access it for free here, and look out for more ideas and insight on junior minor exploration in future blogs on this site.