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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...

First International Mining for Development course into Africa

The training is part of a longer term capacity building process to encourage economic development in African countries

by Dan Zlotnikov on August 3, 2012community

Africa is fast becoming the newest frontier in mining activity: Australian investment alone in the continent’s mining sector is expected to total $50 billion over the next three years. Supporting this surge in activity is the International Mining for Development Centre (IM4DC), a partnership between the Australian government, the University of Western Australia, and the University of Queensland, and funded through AusAID.

As African countries seek to attract further mining exploration investment, the importance of effective, efficient cadastral systems and high-quality survey data is becoming ever clearer: In 2004-2005, Australian exploration companies were spending $1 million per year in Burkina Faso. In the upcoming 12 months, Australian exploration and mining development investment in the country will exceed $100 million and where seven years ago there was one company there are now 14.

“Burkina Faso is stable, has good laws for investment, and most importantly provides high quality country-wide mineral exploration datasets, from which exploration programs can be more effectively designed,” says Peter Williams.

Williams was one of the initiators and coordinators of the new IM4DC offering: a series of five week-long modules on integration of cadastral, geoscience, and geographical data usage in GIS systems for mining exploration and development conducted in Burkino Faso from May to July 2012. Offered in partnership with the University of Western Australia’s Centre for Exploration Targeting and Burkina Faso’s own Teng Tuuma Geoservices, the course aimed to give African governments access to the expertise they need to best apply GIS systems to their resource governance programs.

The students – including 25 government staff from eight African countries – were given training in the use of Esri ArcGIS, Geosoft Oasis montaj, Geosoft Target, and Noddy, a magnetic field modelling program developed by fellow course instructor Dr. Mark Jessell.  “The Esri and Geosoft software packages are international standards, addressing the many needs of mineral exploration professionals be they in government or industry” says Williams. “They are also reasonably easy to use and learn, and  well suited to managing large amounts of disparate data and information.” Some 50% of the course time was devoted to hands-on exercises using actual West African datasets.

Williams explains that one of the major challenges faced by African natural resource ministries is in attracting and retaining skilled personnel: Incoming foreign companies offer better wages and employment conditions, leaving the ministries understaffed and their remaining experts overstretched. This leads to delays and problems in permitting and land title issuance, a fundamental building block of mineral exploration investment and subsequent efforts. GIS systems, such as ESRI ArcGIS, can serve as a “force-multiplier,” allowing government staff to better manage large and complex datasets and create new maps derived from these.

Williams highlights another important goal of the course: The nurturing of entrepreneurship in the African mining service and private education sector.  

“Our host company for the course, Teng Tuuma Geoservices, is a new style of fully African owned and managed company,  aimed at not only providing a best-practices service to the mineral exploration industry, but also nurturing the highest quality of continuous professional development of African professionals in their own country,” he says.

“We are not competing with universities,” he continues, “but rather are focused on the practical, everyday implementation of the knowledge gained from university and the effective transformation of this knowledge into best practices as required by the mining industry.”

To this end, the course covered not only mineral exploration usages but also introduced applications in areas of environmental monitoring and compliance, as well as engineering site investigation for tailings dams.

The course is part of a broader continuous development program for geoscience professionalism that is focused on best practices, says Williams. Over time, this will change the landscape for the African professional in his or her own country.  

“We will have more in-depth courses on GIS, cadastral systems, geophysics and geochemistry.  The first course is merely the foundation of an exciting future,” explains Williams.

Future courses will build on foundational skills covered in the current offerings, so Williams emphasizes that it’s important to get the courses structured and interfaced properly “so they are not just a random collection of events, but rather systematic development of understanding and practice.”

Williams also emphasizes the industry’s contribution and involvement, both for letting some of their staff attend the different modules and – in the case of Avocet Mining – for providing practical datasets to use in the classroom. The company also allowed the attendees to visit a key exploration site in Burkina Faso as part of the Field-Based Learning exercise.

The skills learned during the course will be usable right away: Williams says that Burkina Faso is in the process of adopting a new cadastral system.

“Similarly, in Côte d'Ivoire, the Mining Ministry are now evaluating a new cadastral system as part of their rapid re-development program. Our course was very timely for these governments.”

Going forward, Williams says, the initiative intends to maintain and extend the learning experience for all participants through a new online learning portal, currently under development.

“There was a lot of material covered and we fully expect participants to continue to interact with the lecturers and each other through this portal, so the learning is reinforced and an alumni network is built. We are also following a number of exciting Internet based education initiatives, some of which may be very useful in broadening our reach at a cost base which is affordable to a greater part of the geotechnical profession in Africa.”