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PROSPECTING GEOCHEMISTRY

Dr. Kamar Shah Ariffin


Sch. Of Materials & Minerral Resources Engineering
Syllabus

• Objective: To introduce the


exploration methods using
geochemistry and its
approaches to mineral
resource assessment.
Synopsis:
• Types of geochemical survey: soil, stream
sediment, hydrogeochemistry, heavy minerals,
lithogeochemistry, and biogeochemical.
Environment. Primary versus secondary.
• Dispersion patterns (primary and secondary),
pathfinder elements, path indicator elements.
The role of chemical and physical weathering.
The role of pH, Eh, adsorption, mobility on
dispersion patterns.
• Basic principles: contamination, orientation
surveys, anomalies, false anomalies,
reconnaissance survey, regional and detailed
surveys. Sampling, sampling media,
magnitude of sampling.
• Statistical treatment of geochemical data -
simple statistics, lognormal statistics,
geostatistics. The application of statistical
interpretation to geochemical survey.
• Students are required to do field work
employing the techniques that they've
learned from the course work. They will do
sampling, analyze the samples and interpret
the geochemical data.
• Case studies will be used as guides to the
usefulness of geochemistry in mineral
exploration.
Course Outcomes:
• Able to know the basic principles that guide geochemical
exploration as an indirect method to detect the presence of
ore deposits.
• Able to know and describe the primary and secondary
environments where the ores are found and dispersion
patterns that occurs as a result of different interaction in
the environments.
• Able to describe the sampling media (soil, rocks, water,
stream sediments, vegetation, lakes, volatiles) and
methods that are commonly employed in the exploration
program (pitting, trenching, chips sampling, core drilling).
• Able to describe the three main methods of survey used in
the geochemical exploration program (orientation,
reconnaissance and detailed surveys).
References:
1. Levinson, A.A. Introduction to Exploration
Geochemistry. Illinois USA: Applied Publishing
Ltd. 1974.
2. Hawkes, H.E. and Webb, J.S. Geochemistry in
Mineral Exploration. New York: Harper and
Row Publishers. 1962.
3. Reedman, J.H. Techniques in Mineral
Exploration. London:Applied Science
Publishers Ltd. 1979.
Text books
Thanks You
Mineral exploration
• Mineral exploration is a sequential process of
information gathering that assesses
the mineral potential of a given area.
• It starts with an idea or geologic model that
identifies lands worthy of further exploration.
Suitable target areas may then be staked
as mineral claims to secure the mineral rights.
Prospecting Licence
• A Prospecting Licence is a permit, issued by
the State, which allows the holder (the
licensee) to prospect for minerals.
Geochemical exploration
• The search for economic mineral deposits or
petroleum by detection of abnormal
concentrations of elements or hydrocarbons
in surficial materials or organisms, usually
accomplished by instrumental, spot-test, or
quickie techniques that may be applied in the
field.
GEOCHEMICAL SURVEY
• Definition of geochemical survey.
A survey involving the chemical analysis of
systematically collected samples of rock, soil,
stream sediments, plants, or water; this
expression may be further modified by
indicating specif. the material sampled, as, for
example, geochemical soil survey.
Geochemistry and Geochemical
Analysis?
• Geochemistry is the science that uses the
tools and principles of chemistry to explain
the mechanisms behind major geological
systems such as the Earth's crust and its
oceans.
• Geochemical analysis is the process through
which scientists discover and unravel the
chemical compounds that make up the earth,
its atmosphere, and its seas.
Geochemical cycle
• In Earth science, a geochemical cycle is the
pathway that chemical elements take in the
surface and crust of the Earth. The term
"geochemical" tells us that geological and
chemical factors are all included.
Mineral prospector
• A prospector is a type of explorer, but one
with a specific purpose: prospectors are after
mineral deposits. Mineral deposits are found
in the ground, so prospectors will commonly
be looking down. They also use various
tools—such as axes and metal detectors—to
find the minerals they're after.
What does a geochemists do?
• Study the composition, structure, processes,
and other physical aspects of the Earth.
• They examine the distribution of chemical
elements in rocks and minerals, as well as the
movement of these elements into soil and
water systems.
Stream-sediment analysis
• Stream-sediment analysis (river-sediment
analysis; drainage-sediment survey)
• A technique used in geochemical exploration and analysis, in
which semimobile and immobile elements are measured from
river or stream sediments, although under some
circumstances highly mobile elements, e.g. molybdenum, may
be used.
• Anomalies in sediments are not always accompanied by
anomalies in the water, there may be seasonal variations in
the composition of stream water, and it is easier to collect,
carry, and store sediment samples than water samples.
• Anomalies may occur in the active sediment and in the banks
and flood plains, so sampling of any of these can give
satisfactory results. Immobile elements are determined by
total-metal analysis; mobile and semi-mobile elements by
total-or cold-extractable metal analysis.
• Sediment is a naturally occurring material that
is broken down by processes of weathering
and erosion, and is subsequently transported
by the action of wind, water, or ice, and/or by
the force of gravity acting on the particles.
CASE STUDY
Results of geochemical
sampling near the Pandanus
Creek uranium deposit

Orientation geochemical
studies indicate that
stream·sediment sampling is
a potentially powerful
exploration technique in the
Westmoreland region of
Northern Australia. Uranium,
copper, tin, and lead
mineralization can all be
detected by the use of a
combination of sieved
samples and heavy-mineral
concentrates.
Mineral Exploration Using
Hydrogeochemical Analysis
• This exploration method exploits the interaction
between groundwater systems and geology.
• Research has shown that in known areas of
mineralisation, chemical traces can be found within
groundwater samples.
• By examining groundwater samples across an area of
interest, concentrations in pathfinder minerals should
indicate where mineralisation most likely occurs.
• From the inferences gathered by this exploration
technique, traditional exploration methods should be
used to confirm the location and economic viability of
discovered deposits