Development of Advance Geophysical Techniques for Minerals Exploration, Ore Delineation and Mine Planning
The mining and minerals processing industries annually contribute $40 billion (3.6% of the GDP) to the Canadian Economy through both direct expenditures in the industry and associated communities and through commodity exports. While significant mineral reserves remain to be discovered in Canada and internationally, these reserves are located at greater depths than presently known minerals deposits and advanced technologies are required to locate them. Maintenance of competitiveness for Canadian mining companies, both in local and world markets requires investments to develop the advanced technologies and to train skilled people to use the technologies.
The major objectives of this research program are two-fold: 1) to modify and extend seismic techniques to provide cost-effective access to deeper subsurface information, 2) to develop new methods for joint and collaborative inversion of the wide variety of geological and geophysical data that become available as part of an exploration program. Laboratory-based technique and algorithm development will be followed by field-based testing of the most promising laboratory results. Field-testing will be conducted in collaboration with Vale Inco at the world-class nickel-copper-cobalt deposit at Voisey's Bay, Labrador.
The Voisey's Bay site provides an outstanding opportunity to design well-constrained, high-return geophysical experiments due to the abundance of available borehole information and the range in the complexity of the ore body geometries. Close collaboration with the exploration/production staff of Vale Inco will provide the technical expertise and logistical support required to operate a large-scale research project in Labrador. The knowledge base derived from this research will move directly into the public domain through publication in recognized scientific journals and in trade magazines with broad industrial distribution.