How Hi Technology Is Going Underground
New technologies have changed the world and the way we do things in lot of ways during the last decade or two. Think about a world without the internet or the smart phone. It's how some of these devices can transform a persons life and enable us as people do things that just a few short years ago would be almost unheard of. Take for instance prospecting and how the simple drone can speed up prospecting in remote hard to get to areas for just a fraction of the price of what a helicopter would cost. Add to that real time data and you can save months of leg work when prospecting.
In a past article we I talked about how the drone helps see the prospector from above like an eye in the sky. As good as the drone is it can't see what is under your feet though, and that is where minerals are. Drilling has been around for years and there really is nothing that beats visual drill core or bulk sampling. But that all costs money. So much money that companies have to go the markets to try and raise that money. Drilling costs can climb into the hundreds of thousands of dollars and climb fast. It doesn't take too many bad targets and your cash box will be empty. That's where some seismic comes in and allows a prospector to pick out his targets with some sense of confidence.
Today the modern prospector can have access to all sorts of new hi tech gadgets. Some of the newer items coming on the market are Ground Penetrating Radar that scans the ground and gives a visual on laptop of depths to 12 feet. These visuals will give you an idea of bedrock layers below surface, ground disturbance and much more. Although the starting cost can be around 4-5 thousand dollars the pay back time can be almost immediate and that's not saying anything about the time saved from even small auger drilling. Most of these machines are light weight and easily transportable. Some models are carried, some are drug behind as you walk and others come with stroller like carriers although it rough terrain the drag behind models work best.
Pulse Induction & Blanket Antennas are another item being used today. The blankets similar to the old style beep mats can be pulled behind an ATV or by hand. Working much like a pulse induction style metal detector it sends down signal and records the signal back. Beep Mats are an efficient, user friendly, inexpensive electromagnetic survey. You can sample as many conductive outcrops and floats in one season as a mining company drills in many years of standard operation. With the standard approach, less than 1% of all drilled targets will warrant additional drilling. Thus, the use of the Beep Mat saves the cost of hundreds of sterile drill and is used to develop targets that really deserve attention.
3D Imaging Locators are electronic tools that give you a 3 dimensional view of what is underground. Working on a radar based operation it send a signal that pulses down and then gathers the signals as they bounce back. Designed to find subsurface water, ore bodies, placer pay deposits, locate shipwrecks and can detect tunnels/caves/voids up to 200 feet deep gving you a vivid view on a screen. Although these units can cost upwards of $50,000 they can still save time and money from needless drilling.
On the lower end of the scale a lot of the common metal detectors and starting to play an important roll in the prospecting area. In areas where the ground is covered in moss it can be difficult to see outcroppings as most can get a thick as a few feet. Any sort of metalic or such as coppers or irons will set off a metal detector. Going up the price chain there are getting to be some very hi end gold prospecting detectors. some of these detectors can pick out sub gram nuggets of gold to depths of a few feet even in highly mineralized areas. Lots of placer mining prospectors are starting to use these as a method of cleaning up the bedrock arfter mining has been done. Other will detect the tailings looking for anything that might have slipped over.
So you can see that for around 5 digits of money you can be set up with some sort of detector or ground penetraing radar, a drone and maybe a 3D imager and be ready to get out there and start prospecting the hi tech way.
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