Mining.com reports that the rebound in commodity prices could take global mining exploration spending up to as much as $21 billion by 2025, a level of funding last seen in 2012 according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.
Stan Wholley, President for the Americas at CSA Global — the world’s second-largest mining sector consultancy — told MINING.com that such a hefty investment is essential. “As deposits get harder and more expensive to find and after such an extended period of inactivity in the exploration space, I believe we need to be back at the levels seen in 2012 to replace resources and reserves required to sustain growth.”
Wholley explained that good margins on gold are helping to fund exploration and acquisitions. He also added that Australia is leading the way in recovery in mining exploration (read: Mineral Exploration Spending Expected to Increase in Australia) and that companies are venturing abroad, with gold projects in West Africa and other investments in Argentina and Mexico.
Many of these companies will employ portable XRF analyzers in their mining exploration efforts. XRF analyzers provide fast acquisition of geochemical data for ore deposit modeling, easily determining ore boundaries, and quickly identifying increasingly low-grade deposits.
Portable XRF analyzers are especially helpful in finding gold deposits. While geologists employ geophysical methods for gold exploration, geochemical methods – including x-ray florescence (XRF) – are the only methods that can measure concentrations of gold and other pathfinder elements. Portable XRF analyzers are used in various stages of gold exploration and mining including grass-root exploration finding source of gold in stream sediments, core logging, identification of lithologies, and even grade control.
The sampling techniques are aimed at mapping the distribution of gold and in particular, the various elements associated with gold known as the pathfinder elements (silver, copper, zinc, nickel, mercury, arsenic and barium). Pathfinder elements are very important in finding gold because they help focus the search area. It’s much easier to find the pathfinder elements, due to their higher concentration, than it is to find gold, and once found they can help determine if gold is nearby.
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