Gold is one of the most valuable metals in the world, and was the hottest conversation topic at the international gold conference, NewGenGold. Last month Perth played host to the biennial conference, an invaluable event for geoscientists which focuses on discovery case histories of the world’s most recent gold mines or soon-to-be mines. A common theme our acQuire team noted throughout the two day event was how valuable geoscientific data is and the role it plays in helping explorers plan, drill and then ultimately find a discovery.
The program featured high-calibre papers, each addressing where-why-and-how some of the world’s most important gold deposits were found. Presentations were hosted by companies including Kirkland Lake Gold, Resolute Mining, Bellevue Gold Limited, Eldorado Gold and Capricorn Metals.
Perseverance and patience a common thread
Tales of perseverance and patience featured amongst gold explorers providing insights into their successful discoveries around the world. Several of the speakers commented how frequently exploration properties have changed hands over years, even decades, before a discovery is made.
This is where historical datasets are critical. A quality dataset, containing validated and verified geological information is needed to review and interpret the geology and generate a fresh perspective of the geological model. Historical data can be crucial in making decisions for the next round of drilling and testing of targets. When cash is king, and investment budgets are tight, drill programs need to be well planned.
Praise flows easily on the geologist who provided a quality dataset with reliable data and trustworthy observations and measurements. Legacy data can be interwoven with new drilling results, giving explorers a bigger picture of what may be beneath the earth’s surface.
A gold success story
Kirkland Lake Gold, an acQuire customer, presented its success of work at Fosterville. They showcased the road to success which featured multiple property owners over the years, extensive drilling and smart interpretation of data to inform their exploration program.
Gold was first discovered at Fosterville in 1894 and went through ebbs and flows of exploration activity and production into the early 2000s. Kirkland Gold took ownership in 2016 and since then Fosterville has been transformed into one of the world’s highest grade and most profitable gold mines. The Fosterville project has been through multiple ownerships over the past 10 years and over 800km of diamond core had been drilled.
Exploration operates in a tough financial environment, with limited growth funds that need to be directed to the right areas. Exploration strategies and quick decision-making is often supported by having the right data at hand to help geologists react to the observations they are seeing and challenge geologic models. As a customer of acQuire, geoscientific data is captured in GIM Suite. By being able to rely on their original observations and measurements they were able to interpret their sectional drilling and then select their ideal targets.
Kirkland Lake Gold explained how perseverance led to the project’s success. The program’s style of drill planning, persistence with the mineral system, managerial backing and a committed workforce all led to it becoming one of the most profitable mines.
Some other success stories didn’t start with the luxury of consolidated, historical data. Bellevue Gold Limited showcased their high-grade gold discovery which started when they took over Bellevue mine in 2016. Their initial exploration work started on building historical datasets, compiling the core farm and rebuilding mineralisation models and geological frameworks. While a lot of data was available, the drilling didn’t go deep enough. Over 12 months, Bellevue Gold reviewed data from previous workers to assemble approximately 30 years of drilling information to reconstruct the geological model.
Without having been able to source reliable data to interpret the geology, the successful drilling may not have occurred. Bellevue Gold noted their geological data continues to feed and refine the geological model, hopefully driving further discoveries.
Drilling activity is critical in finding an orebody. Yet drilling programs often won’t run without financial backing and financial backing won’t happen unless an explorer has the right information to back their interpretations. They all feed each other.
Any data captured during drilling defines the way to making the next discovery. Keeping data in good shape is a geologist’s professional legacy.
If you’d like to find out more about acQuire’s market-leading geoscientific data software and how you can use it to manage one of your most important exploration assets, then reach out. We’d be happy to discuss how we can help you ensure you’ve got reliable data feeding your exploration and drilling programs.