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Low Impact Exploration Surveys in Mining

Exploration is crucial in determining the location, size, and quality of ore reserves.

To reliably characterise the orebody and surrounding rocks, assess environmental impact, and conduct a feasibility study on the economic potential of an ore reserve, mining companies need high quality geological, geotechnical, and hydrological data.

Low impact reconnaissance methods allow mine operators to gain this data while minimising environmental damage.

Key fact: For every 500–1000 mineral showings tested, one mineral deposit with sufficient value to mine is discovered

Airborne exploration surveys use UAVs, like GPS drones, to provide advanced geological mapping of a mine site through geophysical, topographic, and underground surveying. UAVs can also be equipped with FLIR thermography cameras for the purposes of mineral detection.

Geophysical imaging is another low impact exploration method used to analyse the orebody and physical properties of bedrock, providing accurate geotechnical characterisation.

Hydrology studies are also critical exploratory methods. Understanding the complexity of moving groundwater informs mine development and determines how operations will affect the hydrological cycle.

Key fact: The mining exploration budget is expected to rise in 2021 by 15-20% year on year

Benefits

  • Remotely determines the quality of ore reserves

  • Minimises environmental impact

  • Enhances mine planning with key data

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