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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...

The future of gold exploration

Established camps will continue to produce base metal deposits; gold targets increasingly high-grade

by Virginia Heffernan on February 28, 2013 discovery

[Click to enlarge]

Map illustrating exploration maturity in the Flin Flon Greenstone Belt (FFGB). Red shows extensively explored areas near mines. Green shows well explored areas near satellite deposits. Yellow shows under explored areas often under carbonate cover.


[Click to enlarge]

Where to explore in the future for gold: smaller, higher-grade deposits are likely to become the focus of future exploration.

Smaller, higher-grade deposits are likely to become the focus of future gold exploration while base metal exploration will continue to tap into established mining camps with the help of new technologies.

Those were the main predictions put forth by Rob Penczak, Goldcorp’s director of exploration (on the gold side) and Kelly Gilmore, HudBay Minerals’ chief geologist (on the base metals side) at a symposium on the future of exploration and mining in Canada. The half-day event hosted by the Toronto Geological Discussion Group (TGDG) drew 96 people (including 24 students from the University of Toronto, Western University and Laurentian University) and featured a range of speakers including Ross Gallinger, executive director of the Prospectors  Developers Association of Canada, and Catherine Farrow, independent consultant and chief technology officer for the former Quadra FNX.

Penczak said the average grade of gold mined worldwide recently dropped to 1.8 grams per tonne from 7.3 gpt in 1979 while the average grade of new gold discoveries is just 0.76 gpt. But he believes high-grade deposits (greater than 5 gpt) will be targets for future exploration because of geographical restrictions, the desire to preserve profit margins, and a smaller environmental footprint that increases the chance of securing community approval and permits.

He likes the odds for gold exploration in higher-grade metamorphic terranes and sedimentary rocks and thinks that by reworking exploration models (e.g., porphyry models in Archean rocks), new opportunities will emerge.

In terms of regions, Penczak is optimistic about northern British Columbia and the Yukon, Nunavut and Baffin Island, the gold camps that straddle the northern Ontario-Manitoba border, the Abitibi greenstone belt, far northern Quebec, and the area surrounding Sudbury.

Gilmore, whose exploration team has had great success in the Flin Flon base metal camp of northern Manitoba over the past decade, expects established mining camps will continue to produce deposits using new technology. He thinks these will be found at both previously unexplored depths (e.g., Lalor and 777 in Flin Flon and Nickel Rim South in Sudbury) and at shallow depths (e.g., Halo Resources’ Lost Lake deposit near Flin Flon). Greenfields exploration will also benefit from technological innovation and knowledge that allows geologists to see under cover.

“At Lalor, we were able to use geophysical technology that could see to 1,000 metres where the favourable horizon was,” he says. “There is a lot of new technology that will deliver new deposits.”

Gold reserves declined steadily from 1996 before rebounding sharply in 2010 as a result of new discoveries and a higher gold price, but both grade and reserves are on the decline for base metal deposits in Canada, increasing the urgency to replace the current supply of producers with exploration success.

But both Penczak and Gilmore have grave concerns about how this exploration will get done under new regulatory threats that are reducing the available landmass to search and creating delays, especially in such highly prospective provinces as Ontario, Manitoba and Quebec.

“One of the main challenges is the change in exploration regulations, which creates uncertainties for juniors,” says Penczak, adding that anything that interferes with junior exploration eventually affects the growth prospects for seniors.“It generally takes three to four years to deliver the first resource, and this could be delayed too.”

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