The people, science and technology behind discovery

Minalliance ebook highlights innovations in the mining industry

on January 28, 2013 library

Minalliance, a Montreal-based organization created jointly by the Québec Mineral Exploration Association and the Québec Mining Association, has published an ebook listing 100 technological improvements in exploration and mining.

Titled 100 Innovations in the Mining Industry, the work summarizes advances made in the past 10 years both worldwide and in Quebec specifically.

“The list demonstrates the ingenuity of a profession that strives for more efficient, sustainable practices by continually revisiting and renewing its methods and concepts,” says Michel Zébrak, professor of earth sciences at the
University of Quebec who oversaw the study.

Zébrak and his research team focused on: identifying minerals, chemical compositions and physical properties directly in the field; detecting deposits at greater depth; modeling mineral deposits from the earliest stages of exploration; robotics in mining; real-time monitoring of ore flow during processing; simulations at the mine design stage; and worker safety and environmental protection.

Inversion algorithms rated as the #1 exploration innovation. According to the report: “Geophysics is traditionally used to predict the position of a mineralized body by seeking out, for example, anomalies in the magnetic field, the gravitational field, or electrical conductivity. The new inversion algorithms allow the use of geophysical data in a different way. By first establishing the geophysical properties of rocks and then measuring their geophysical signatures in the field, it is possible to generate three-dimensional models of their potential mineralization and the surrounding geological environment. Inversion algorithms have led to many discoveries of copper and gold deposits.”

Other exploration innovations included: ICP-MS analyses, which can analyze dozens of elements simultaneously; gas geochemistry, which can detect gaseous substances released through oxidation of a deposit’s sulphide minerals, and airborne gravimetry, which detects minute variations in the earth’s gravitational field.  

You can view and download a copy of the 100 Innovations in the Mining Industry ebook on the Minalliance website.