On Monday March 28, 2016, the President of the United States and his family will host the 138th annual White House Easter Egg Roll. According to the White House Historical Association, the annual Easter Egg Roll at the White House has been a regular public event since 1878 and has involved hunting for eggs as well as rolling them across the White House lawn. I’m sure there are systems in place to ensure that each child gets an egg because it’s no fun to hunt for eggs and not find any.
Our mining customers are not so lucky. Legendary explorationist and geologist, Dave Lowell, author of the book Intrepid Explorer – The Autobiography of the World’s Best Mine Finder, was once quoted as saying: “Mineral exploration, like investing in new blockbuster drugs, has a very low probability of success.”
No one is going to give you minerals, oil and gas, or rare earth elements if you can’t find them yourself. However, we can give you a basket full of articles and application notes that address exploration and the technologies that may be able to help in the process — whether it be hunting for minerals, metals or oil and gas deposits on land, under the sea or in outer space. Here they are:
Hunting for Minerals and Metals
- Pathfinders for Gold Exploration – Identification of Lithology & Base Metal Anomalies – Au exploration is very challenging because its economic mining threshold is low, and it depends on the tonnage available. Portable XRF can be used on pathfinder elements for gold – Zn, Pb, Cu, and As. Read more..
- Nickel Exploration Continues: New Deposits May Have Big Potential – Although nickel is usually found in laterite deposits, which are surface deposits produced by weathering, most nickel is mined from sulfide deposits, which are easier and cheaper to mine. Nickel sulfide deposits are generally associated with iron- and magnesium-rich rocks very deep within the earth and mined by underground techniques and occasionally by open pit mining. Laterite deposits are typically mined by open cut or strip mining. Read more.
- Can XRF Find Precious Metals? – Due to both their high prices and increased demand, mining and exploration activities for precious metals have increased. In most instances, such as ore grade control and exploration of rich zones, precious metals can be detected directly by portable x-ray fluorescence (XRF). In cases where there are very low concentrations of these metals, pathfinder elements, which can be enriched with precious metals, can successfully be used as exploration tools to locate potential zones. Read more.
- Technical Poster – Application of Portable XRF Analyzer in Geochemical Exploration – Three types of analyses were carried out on drill core samples from exploration done at the Francisco I. Madero Zn–Pb–Cu–(Ag) deposit, Zacatecas, Mexico. Read more.
- Can XRF Be Used to Discover Porphyry Deposits? – Porphyry deposits are very attractive exploration and mining targets due to their high tonnage and relatively easy open pit mining. They are commonly associated with porphyritic intrusive rocks, i.e., granite porphyry. Read more.
- Kimberlite Exploration – Diamonds are most often found in kimberlite pipes, carrot-shaped, volcanic rock formations. Miners investigate locations likely to contain kimberlite pipes, which are typically cratons, the oldest, most deeply rooted rock formations that make up the stable cores of the continents. Read more.
- Mn-Fe Exploration and Mining – Manganese exploration takes place in several areas, including South Africa, Australia, China, Brazil, Gabon, Ukraine, India, Ghana and Kazakhstan. 33 Fe-Mn ore samples taken from a Fe-Mn mine site were analyzed. Read more.
- PGE (Platinum Group Elements) Exploration – Pathfinder elements are very important in facilitating the exploration of various types of ore deposits including precious metal mineralization. Read more.
Hunting for Oil and Gas
Hydrocarbon exploration is one of the most active sectors of the geological sciences. Petroleum geologists searching for oil and natural gas face a difficult task; oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) involves many challenging processes, not the least of which is figuring out where these elusive deposits are and which ones will prove the most productive and profitable.
Here are some articles that may help you in your hunt for unconventional oil exploration:
- Unconventional Oil Exploration, Part 1: What Makes Oil Unconventional?
- The Arctic Frontier
- Ultra-Deepwater Oil
- Tight Oil
- Oil Sands
- Horizontal Drilling Gives New Life to an Old Oil Play
Hunting in Outer Space
- Do We Need More Green Cheese? One Step Closer to Mining the Moon’s Resources
- Can You Own an Asteroid?
- Space, the Final Frontier…for Mining?
Mining exploration involves more than scanning the grass for some colored eggs, using nothing more than a basket as a hunting tool. When data is required in the field, portable x-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzers are a valuable way to obtain rapid, real-time, on-site chemical analysis of rocks, cuttings, and cores that can be used for identifying formations and determining rock composition. These characteristics can be used to infer formation properties favorable to certain minerals or oil and gas production. Companies involved in exploration also rely on sophisticated laboratory information management systems (LIMS) for instrument integration and sophisticated data analysis.