“Geophysical signatures of mineral systems; more than bumps” is a workshop being held as part of the ASEG-PESA 24th International Geophysical Conference and Exhibition in Perth, 15-18 February 2015. The convention organisers have decided to make workshop registration available to attendees who have not registered for the conference itself.
Date: Thursday 19 Feb
Cost: Standard $180, students $80 (Students must provide proof of student status)
Location: Meeting Room 10, Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre
Conveners: Ken Witherly: Condor Consulting & John Hart:RioTinto Exploration
It is generally accepted that the shallow, easy to define ore bodies were recognized first and developed. In the past 20 years, the discovery performance across virtually all mineral sectors has fallen, resulting in growing concern that if unchecked, there could be shortfalls in a number of commodities within the next 20 years.
The collective sense is that the geological column hosts more deposits than have been found to date but these are expected to be at greater depths than have typically been explored before. To be able to operate in this environment, new approaches to the identification of deposits is required and the concept of a mineral systems approach, first suggested 20 years ago, has emerged as a powerful means to build strategies and capabilities going forward. In terms of geophysical exploration, the major change that will be required is a shift from a focus almost entirely on direct targeting of deposits with geophysical surveys to a staged process where geophysical approaches are used initially to help define the pathways in the Earth which carried the mineralizing solutions which formed the target deposit.
These pathways would provide a much larger target to explore for and if detected and mapped, should allow explorers to follow the pathway to the location of potential deposits. This task is different from most geophysical studies undertaken, where the focus has been typically on improving the direct targeting capabilities and not the larger scale mapping problem that a mineral systems approach will require. In the current assessment, a review is undertaken of what is seen as the current state-of-play for a number of major deposit styles and how geophysical data is being used at present to explore for these. The assessment overall is encouraging but major challenges remain outside of the technical issues of defining a mineral systems strategy that relate primarily to human resources and the commercial environment.
This forum will examine the current state of understanding of geophysical signatures of mineral systems; current examples, on-going research and areas which require further assessment. A major tenant that is already apparent is that the successful development of undercover exploration strategies will require a degree of integration of geophysical outcomes with other geoscience data not typically achieved historically.
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