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Conference Papers Year : 2017

Status and new developments in field portable geochemical techniques and on-site technologies for mineral exploration

Abstract

There is an ongoing need to be innovative with the way we undertake mineral exploration. Recent technological advances that have enabled successful mineral exploration include on-site or portable instruments, on-site laboratory technologies, various core scanners, and technologies for fluid analysis. Portable or field technologies such as pXRF, pXRD, pNIR-SWIR, µRaman, and LIBS, aid in obtaining chemical and mineralogical information. Spectral gamma tools, a well-known technology, recently took advantage of improved ground and airborne (drone) instruments, to complement hyperspectral imagery. Novel, groundbreaking technology Lab-at-Rig®, was developed by CSIRO, Imdex and Olympus at the Deep Exploration Technologies CRC, and is currently being retrofitted to diamond drilling. Cuttings are separated from drilling fluids in a Solid Removal Unit (SRU), producing one meter composite mud which is sub-sampled, dried and analyzed by both X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) and X-ray Diffraction (XRD) sensors that deliver the chemistry and mineralogy of a sample, respectively. These data are automatically uploaded to a cloud-based storage platform and subjected to a range of statistical analyses with results returned to the geologist in a matter of seconds, allowing decisions to be made in near real time. At a mine site, core scanners become a useful tool to analyse meters of core as it is being drilled. Core scanners include hyperspectral and XRF systems, such as Corescan, HyLogger and Minalyzer, for example. Fluid analyses are not as common as analyses of solid materials, but there are advances in such technologies as ASV, polarography, and ion exchange electrodes aiming for analysis of commodity or environmentally important elements. With all available portable, field and on-site technologies it is now possible to collect data at the exploration site or while drilling. Certainly, field and on-site analyses cannot yet compete with laboratory analyses in terms of sensitivity, precision and accuracy due to compromises in sample preparation, instrument performance and work environment. However, field and on-site results must only achieve the level of confidence expected from the decision. Most mineral exploration decisions are based on flexible thinking rather than on a pre-set framework of investigations. One of the key benefits of real-time analyses, or short delay analyses (less than a day) is the possibility to adjust sampling plans, test hypotheses based on ongoing results, and make fast decisions on the exploration process-especially drilling and sampling. This is particularly important for remote locations, where sample logistics to the laboratory may become long and demanding.
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Dates and versions

hal-01740963 , version 1 (22-03-2018)

Identifiers

  • HAL Id : hal-01740963 , version 1

Cite

Bruno Lemiere, Y Uvarova. Status and new developments in field portable geochemical techniques and on-site technologies for mineral exploration. Exploration 17, Field Analysis Workshop, Oct 2017, Toronto, Canada. ⟨hal-01740963⟩

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