Special Issue "Seismic Methods in Mineral Exploration"

A special issue of Minerals (ISSN 2075-163X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 March 2019)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Gilles Bellefleur

Natural Resources Canada, K1A 0E8 Ottawa, Canada
Website | E-Mail
Interests: deep exploration; reflection seismic method; rock physics; vertical seismic profiling; distributed acoustic sensing; 3D seismic imaging
Guest Editor
Dr. Michał Malinowski

Institute of Geophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences, 01-452, Warszawa, Poland
Website | E-Mail
Interests: reflection seismic method; seismic imaging; full-waveform inversion; seismic interferometry; seismic quantitative interpretation
Guest Editor
Dr. Milovan Urosevic

Faculty of Science and Engineering, Curtin University, Bentley WA 6102, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: reflection seismic; distributed acoustic sensing; seismic imaging; boreholes and surface; AVO and inversion

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In many parts of the world, exploration for mineral deposits is moving progressively but persistently to greater depths, relying on knowledge gained from previous exploration campaigns and also on new exploration tools and techniques to efficiently guide deep and costly boreholes. With encouraging results recently obtained in various mining camps, seismic methods continue to make valuable contributions to deep mineral exploration worldwide. This Special Issue aims to publish case studies demonstrating the value of seismic methods for a wide range of mineral commodities located in a variety of mining camps across the globe. This includes topics such as regional reconnaissance of ore system elements; rock physics and quantitative analysis for improved characterization of mineral deposits; modelling, inversion, and integration of seismic data with ore deposit geology. Papers addressing technical aspects of the seismic workflow with a particular focus on state-of-the-art methods opening new frontiers in mineral exploration are especially welcome.

Dr. Gilles Bellefleur
Dr. Michał Malinowski
Dr. Milovan Urosevic
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Seismic Methods
  • Deep Exploration
  • Rock Physics
  • Data Acquisition
  • Data Processing
  • Modelling
  • Inversion
  • Integration Interferometry

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Sparse 3D Seismic Imaging in the Kylylahti Mine Area, Eastern Finland: Comparison of Time Versus Depth Approach
Minerals 2019, 9(5), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9050305
Received: 8 April 2019 / Revised: 10 May 2019 / Accepted: 14 May 2019 / Published: 17 May 2019
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Abstract
A 10.5 km2 3D seismic survey was acquired over the Kylylahti mine area (Outokumpu mineral district, eastern Finland) as a part of the COGITO-MIN (COst-effective Geophysical Imaging Techniques for supporting Ongoing MINeral exploration in Europe) project, which aimed at the development of [...] Read more.
A 10.5 km2 3D seismic survey was acquired over the Kylylahti mine area (Outokumpu mineral district, eastern Finland) as a part of the COGITO-MIN (COst-effective Geophysical Imaging Techniques for supporting Ongoing MINeral exploration in Europe) project, which aimed at the development of cost-effective geophysical imaging methods for mineral exploration. The cost-effectiveness in our case was related to the fact that an active-source 3D seismic survey was accomplished by using the receiver spread originally designed for a 3D passive survey. The 3D array recorded Vibroseis and dynamite shots from an active-source 2D seismic survey, from a vertical seismic profiling experiment survey, as well as some additional “random” Vibroseis and dynamite shots made to complement the 3D source distribution. The resulting 3D survey was characterized by irregular shooting geometry and relatively large receiver intervals (50 m). Using this dataset, we evaluate the effectiveness of the standard time-imaging approach (post-stack and pre-stack time migration) compared to depth imaging (standard and specialized Kirchhoff pre-stack depth migration, KPreSDM). Standard time-domain processing and imaging failed to convincingly portray the first ~1500 m of the subsurface, which was the primary interest of the survey. With a standard KPreSDM, we managed to obtain a good image of the base of the Kylylahti formation bordering the extent of the mineralization-hosting Outokumpu assemblage rocks, but otherwise the image was very noisy in the shallower section. The specialized KPreSDM approach (i.e., coherency-based Fresnel volume migration) resulted in a much cleaner image of the shallow, steeply dipping events, as well as some additional deeper reflectors, possibly representing repetition of the contact between the Outokumpu assemblage and the surrounding Kalevian metasediments at depth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seismic Methods in Mineral Exploration)
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Open AccessArticle
Cost-Effective Seismic Exploration: 2D Reflection Imaging at the Kylylahti Massive Sulfide Deposit, Finland
Minerals 2019, 9(5), 263; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9050263
Received: 5 April 2019 / Revised: 25 April 2019 / Accepted: 27 April 2019 / Published: 30 April 2019
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (17005 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We show that by using an advanced pre-stack depth imaging algorithm it is possible to retrieve meaningful and robust seismic images with sparse shot points, using only 3–4 source points per kilometer along a seismic profile. Our results encourage the use of 2D [...] Read more.
We show that by using an advanced pre-stack depth imaging algorithm it is possible to retrieve meaningful and robust seismic images with sparse shot points, using only 3–4 source points per kilometer along a seismic profile. Our results encourage the use of 2D seismic reflection profiling as a reconnaissance tool for mineral exploration in areas with limited access for active seismic surveys. We used the seismic data acquired within the COGITO-MIN project comprising two approximately 6 km long seismic reflection profiles at the polymetallic Kylylahti massive sulfide mine site in eastern Finland. The 2D seismic data acquisition utilized both Vibroseis and dynamite sources with 20 m spacing and wireless receivers spaced every 10 m. For both source types, the recorded data show clear first breaks over all offsets and reflectors in the raw shot gathers. The Kylylahti area is characterized by folded and faulted, steeply dipping geological contacts and structures. We discuss post-stack and pre-stack data processing and compare time and depth imaging techniques in this geologically complex Precambrian hardrock area. The seismic reflection profiles show prominent reflectors at 4.5–8 km depth utilizing different migration routines. In the shallow subsurface, steep reflectors are imaged, and within and underneath the known Kylylahti ultramafic body reflectivity is prominent but discontinuous. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seismic Methods in Mineral Exploration)
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Open AccessArticle
Simultaneous Inversion of Shallow Seismic Data for Imaging of Sulfurized Carbonates
Minerals 2019, 9(4), 203; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9040203
Received: 14 February 2019 / Revised: 11 March 2019 / Accepted: 26 March 2019 / Published: 28 March 2019
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Abstract
In this article, we present a high-resolution shallow seismic surveying method for imaging the inner structure of the Miocene evaporitic formation, where sulfur ore occurs. The survey was completed in the northern part of the Carpathian Foredeep (SE Poland) where sulfur deposits occur [...] Read more.
In this article, we present a high-resolution shallow seismic surveying method for imaging the inner structure of the Miocene evaporitic formation, where sulfur ore occurs. The survey was completed in the northern part of the Carpathian Foredeep (SE Poland) where sulfur deposits occur up to a depth of ca. 260 m. In this region, the sulfur ore is strata-bound and exists within a carbonate interval of a thickness of approximately 28 m. The average sulfur content reaches up to 30%. Five seismic profiles were acquired with a total length of 2450 m. The acquisition was designed to obtain high-resolution, long offsets and a satisfactory signal-to-noise ratio. In the field, we used 48 channels and variable end-on roll-along spread that allowed us to record offsets of up to 375 m. Data processing was aimed at preserving relative amplitudes (known as RAP, relative amplitude preservation processing), an approach that is necessary for seismic inversion application. With the utilization of well log data and results of simultaneous inversion, we were able to calculate the elastic properties of the deposit to evaluate sulfur ore content and changes in lithology. The sulfur content is strongly dependent on the carbonate reservoir’s porosity. To evaluate porosity changes and associated sulfur content, a simultaneous inversion procedure was used. This is a pioneering approach in which we applied pre-stack inversion methods to shallow carbonate sediments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seismic Methods in Mineral Exploration)
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Open AccessArticle
Acquisition and Processing of Wider Bandwidth Seismic Data in Crystalline Crust: Progress with the Metal Earth Project
Minerals 2019, 9(3), 145; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9030145
Received: 22 January 2019 / Revised: 21 February 2019 / Accepted: 22 February 2019 / Published: 28 February 2019
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Abstract
The Metal Earth project acquired 927 km of deep seismic reflection profiles from August to November of 2017. Seismic data acquired in this early stage of the Metal Earth project benefited greatly from recent advances in the petroleum sector as well as those [...] Read more.
The Metal Earth project acquired 927 km of deep seismic reflection profiles from August to November of 2017. Seismic data acquired in this early stage of the Metal Earth project benefited greatly from recent advances in the petroleum sector as well as those in mineral exploration. Vibroseis acquisition with receivers having a 5 Hz response (10 dB down) generated records from a sweep signal starting at 2 Hz, sweeping up to 150 Hz or 200 Hz. Not only does this broadband signal enhance reflections from the deepest to the shallowest crust, but it also helps the use of full waveform inversion (e.g., to mitigate cycle-skipping) and related techniques. Metal Earth regional-scale transects using over 5000 active sensors target mineralizing fluid pathways throughout the crust, whereas higher spatial-resolution reflection and full-waveform surveys target structures at mine camp scales. Because Metal Earth was proposed to map and compare entire Archean ore and geologically similar non-ore systems, regional sections cover the entire crust to the Moho in the Abitibi and Wabigoon greenstone belts of the Superior craton in central Canada. Where the new sections overlap with previous Lithoprobe surveys, a clear improvement in reflector detection and definition is observed. Improvements are here attributed to the increased bandwidth of the signal, better estimates of refraction and reflection velocities used in processing, and especially the pre-stack time migration of the data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seismic Methods in Mineral Exploration)
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Open AccessArticle
Underground Vertical Seismic Profiling with Conventional and Fiber-Optic Systems for Exploration in the Kylylahti Polymetallic Mine, Eastern Finland
Minerals 2018, 8(11), 538; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8110538
Received: 28 September 2018 / Revised: 27 October 2018 / Accepted: 13 November 2018 / Published: 20 November 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (45558 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Seismic reflection methods have been used for the exploration of mineral resources for several decades. However, despite their unmatched spatial resolution and depth penetration, they only have played a minor role in mineral discoveries so far. Instead, mining and exploration companies have traditionally [...] Read more.
Seismic reflection methods have been used for the exploration of mineral resources for several decades. However, despite their unmatched spatial resolution and depth penetration, they only have played a minor role in mineral discoveries so far. Instead, mining and exploration companies have traditionally focused more on the use of potential field, electric and electromagnetic methods. In this context, we present a case study of an underground Vertical Seismic Profiling (VSP) experiment, which was designed to image a (semi-)massive sulfide deposit located in the Kylylahti polymetallic mine in eastern Finland. For the measurement, we used a conventional VSP with three-component geophones and a novel fiber-optic Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) system. Both systems were deployed in boreholes located nearby the target sulfide deposit, and used in combination with an active seismic source that was fired from within the underground tunnels. With this setup, we successfully recorded seismic reflections from the deposit and its nearby geological contrasts. The recording systems provided data with a good signal-to-noise ratio and high spatial resolution. In addition to the measurements, we generated a realistic synthetic dataset based on a detailed geological model derived from extensive drilling data and petrophysical laboratory analysis. Specific processing and imaging of the acquired and synthetic datasets yielded high-resolution reflectivity images. Joint analysis of these images and cross-validation with lithological logging data from 135 nearby boreholes led to successful interpretation of key geological contacts including the target sulfide mineralization. In conclusion, our experiment demonstrates the value of in-mine VSP measurements for detailed resource delineation in a complex geological setting. In particular, we emphasize the potential benefit of using fiber-optic DAS systems, which provide reflection data at sufficient quality with less logistical effort and a higher acquisition rate. This amounts to a lower total acquisition cost, which makes DAS a valuable tool for future mineral exploration activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seismic Methods in Mineral Exploration)
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