Many areas around known orebodies have been well explored with both traditional and emerging exploration technologies. This advanced exploration maturity has been coupled with a significant decline in exploration success over recent years. Areas that have prospective lithologies and geological structures still exist yet are in significantly more challenging exploration environments. Substantial cover sequences that separate ore deposits from the surface mean that many areas are poorly explored. The lower exploration maturity of these areas is typically driven by higher expenses of operating in covered areas with tools such as grid drilling to basement and ground geophysical techniques. Nevertheless, these underexplored regions represent a significant opportunity for groups that can effectively and efficiently explore them. Recent developments in geochemistry enable high-quality concentration data on large suites of elements, and at detection limits that are unprecedented. These new tools help to open-up exploration in these challenging terrains and additionally encourage re-visitation of areas that have been explored extensively with more basic tools.
ALS continues to improve detection limits in our industry leading super trace ICP-MS methods. The improvements in ICP-MS methodologies have pushed detection limits below the average upper crustal abundance, allowing for background to be characterised for important pathfinder elements. By identifying background, the exploration geochemist has a greater degree of confidence in identifying anomalies, in turn producing more robust geochemical targets. These super-trace detection levels also allow for the sampling of non-traditional media such as plant material, water, and the surface of grains which can be used as direct detection methods in challenging transported cover exploration settings.
Most methods described in the generative exploration section are not suitable for mineralised samples. Not only can mineralised samples contaminate the dedicated ultra-clean parts of our lab used for these very low-level detection methods, but results may not be as accurate. This is because instruments are specifically calibrated for low concentration thus when very high concentrations are encountered it may impact accuracy and precision. Some methods in this section are not as sensitive to mineralised samples therefore if there is a method you would like to use, please contact us with details and we can advise if a method is suitable for your samples.
Soil and sediment sample preparation generally involves drying and sieving to remove large particles.LEARN MORE
Carbonate-bearing ore deposits may have diagnostic alteration signatures of carbon and oxygen isotopes.LEARN MORE