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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...

Nick Sheard
Taking a team approach to life and mine-finding

Talk to Nick Sheard about his life for any length of time and the word "team" is likely to crop up repeatedly. The former head of exploration for Inco believes that a group approach to minefinding has a much better shot at success than the lone wolf mindset that attracts many geoscientists to the field.

But then, Sheard is a natural team player. When he spoke to Earth Explorer, he was fresh from a victory of sorts at the world senior curling championships in New Zealand and, despite getting "smashed up" regularly, is a proud member of a South Australian rugby team called the Crippled Crows. Sheard is 59.

"There are some spectacularly good geoscientists out there that are arrogant loners, and sometimes they find things," says Sheard, who now serves as executive chairman of Carpentaria Exploration, a Queensland-based exploration company. "But realistically, it's the team that does it."

And not a team that builds a hierarchy, but one in which every member feels free to contribute ideas and direction. Fostering that culture at Inco took some doing when Sheard arrived in Canada in 2003 to take over as vice-president of exploration after serving as global exploration manager for MIM Holdings (now Xstrata) in Australia.

 "They preferred a more structured approach where if the manager says something, it gets done," says Sheard,  "whereas in Australia you'd tell him to get stuffed if you didn't agree with him and then have a discussion about it. For an exploration company to work, you've got to have everyone chucking in their two bobs worth on new ideas and concepts."

But Canada did teach him something he wouldn't have learned otherwise: how to curl. He happened to settle in a house just up the road from the local curling club in Oakville, Ont. and, intrigued by the game, soon signed up with his wife Diane. Now he's an Aussie curling celebrity.

"I had seen it on TV in the Winter Olympics and I thought it was a great looking game," says Sheard, who decided to play after some coaxing (and coaching) from Ted Bassett, former vice-president of capital projects and engineering for Inco and a current teammate of Sheard's on the Australian Senior Men's team. "We were hopeless but we had great fun."

Not that hopeless, it would seem. When Sheard returned to Australia in 2007 after Inco was taken over by Brazil's CVRD (now Vale), he was chosen for the team that just won two out of five games at the 2009 World Senior Curling championships to place fourth in the round robin ahead of Hungary and England (Canada placed first and went on to win the gold).

Sheard's delivery is classic Australian – bold, irreverent and humorous – but he is Welsh by heritage. He fell in love with Australia while visiting the country as a recent high school graduate and decided to pursue geophysics after landing short-term work in Kalgoorlie as an IP fieldy with McPhar Geophysics.

 "I couldn't believe it – it was warm and there was lots of beer, good-looking women, and good pay so I thought to myself: why should I go back to the UK, that cold, misty, miserable place?"

Sheard went on to complete an Honours degree in Geology and Geophysics at Flinders University in Adelaide, then was hired by the Australian government to explore in Papua New Guinea.

He considers one of his greatest achievements the development of MIMDAS, MIM Exploration's proprietary distributed acquisition system that was a precursor to Titan, Quantec's deep earth imaging technology.   

"We (the MIM geophysical team in 1994) felt that the current crop of geophysical equipment produced results that weren't reliable or accurately interpretable," he recalls. "We wanted a quantum change to produce quality data and reliable interpretations and no one would do it, so we built our own. That gave us a huge edge."

He is also proud of the discoveries made by the Inco Exploration team during his tenure there.

At the Reid Brook dyke within the Voisey's Bay project in Labrador, for instance, the team revisited previous data, reinterpreted the results, drilled, and discovered a flat lying mineralized system. Subsequent efforts including innovative downhole geophysics (EM and seismic) and rigorous geological work further defined the Reid Brook system. The nickel-copper-cobalt resource now stands at about 11.5 million tonnes.

Under Sheard's leadership, the team also discovered new sources of nickel feed within and near the Thompson mine in Manitoba.  Sheard believes there is a lot of potential for extending Thompson's reserves and making further discoveries along the Thompson belt.

But when CVRD swallowed Inco, Sheard moved back to Australia and launched Carpentaria Exploration. Carpentaria focuses on gold and copper exploration in New South Wales and Queensland, an area less picked over than the western regions of the country. The junior is also investigating a promising iron ore target.

"I've gone from Inco where I had 150 to 200 people to manage, down to a company of five, and from a budget of $80-90 million down to a budget of $1 million."

But he's happy to give up the relentless worldwide travel in order to focus on domestic exploration and, besides, there's more time for bonspiels.