Feature Papers in Mineral Exploration Methods and Applications 2022

A special issue of Minerals (ISSN 2075-163X). This special issue belongs to the section "Mineral Exploration Methods and Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2023) | Viewed by 20115

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Guest Editor
Distinguished Professor of Geophysics, Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
Interests: theoretical and applied geophysics; inverse theory; joint inversion; mineral exploration; electromagnetic, gravity, magnetic, and seismic methods
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue, "Feature Papers in Mineral Exploration Methods and Applications 2022," will focus on mineral exploration methods and their applications in studying mineral deposits.

The Special Issue will present invited original research and review papers from prominent researchers in the field covering the latest advances in mineral resources, including geological, geophysical, geochemical methods, and satellite imagery. In addition, contributions on historical, technical, and practical aspects of exploration for mineral deposits will be highlighted. Finally, papers on novel methods of mineral resource prospecting and their application, including mathematical aspects of data processing and interpretation and examples of successful case studies, will be featured in this Special Issue as well.

Prof. Dr. Michael S. Zhdanov
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Minerals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • geochemical surveys
  • geological surveys
  • geophysical surveys
  • mineral exploration
  • remote sensing
  • rock physics
  • mineral deposits

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

20 pages, 9304 KiB  
Article
Comparative Study of Random Forest and Support Vector Machine Algorithms in Mineral Prospectivity Mapping with Limited Training Data
by Alix Lachaud, Marcus Adam and Ilija Mišković
Minerals 2023, 13(8), 1073; https://doi.org/10.3390/min13081073 - 13 Aug 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1425
Abstract
This paper employs two data-driven methods, Random Forest (RF) and Support Vector Machines (SVM), to develop mineral prospectivity models for an epithermal Au deposit. Four distinct models are presented for comparison: one employing RF and three using SVM with different kernel functions—namely linear, [...] Read more.
This paper employs two data-driven methods, Random Forest (RF) and Support Vector Machines (SVM), to develop mineral prospectivity models for an epithermal Au deposit. Four distinct models are presented for comparison: one employing RF and three using SVM with different kernel functions—namely linear, Radial Basis Function (RBF), and polynomial. The analysis leverages a compact training dataset, encompassing just 20 deposits, with deposit and non-deposit locations chosen from known mineral occurrences. Fourteen predictor maps are constructed based on the available data and the exploration model. The findings indicate that RF is more stable and robust than SVM, regardless of the kernel function implemented. While all SVM models outperformed the RF model in terms of classification capability on the training dataset achieving an accuracy exceeding 89% versus 78% for the RF model, the success rate curves suggest superior predictive abilities of RF over SVM models. This implies that the SVM models may be overfitting the training data due to the limited quantity of training deposits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Mineral Exploration Methods and Applications 2022)
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23 pages, 5921 KiB  
Article
3D Focusing Inversion of Full Tensor Magnetic Gradiometry Data with Gramian Regularization
by Michael Jorgensen, Michael S. Zhdanov and Brian Parsons
Minerals 2023, 13(7), 851; https://doi.org/10.3390/min13070851 - 23 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1036
Abstract
Full tensor magnetic gradiometry (FTMG) is becoming a practical method for exploration due to recent advancements in superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) technology. This paper introduces an efficient method of 3D modeling and inversion of FTMG data. The forward modeling uses single-point Gaussian [...] Read more.
Full tensor magnetic gradiometry (FTMG) is becoming a practical method for exploration due to recent advancements in superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) technology. This paper introduces an efficient method of 3D modeling and inversion of FTMG data. The forward modeling uses single-point Gaussian integration with pulse basis functions to compute the volume integrals representing the second spatial derivatives of the magnetic potential. The inversion is aimed at recovering both the magnetic susceptibility and magnetization vectors. We have introduced a 3D regularized focusing inversion technique that utilizes Gramian regularization and a moving sensitivity domain approach. We have also developed a new method of magnetization vector decomposition into induced and remanent parts. The case study includes applying the developed inversion method and computer code to interpret a helicopter-borne FTMG survey carried out over the Thompson Nickel Belt. We have analyzed and separately inverted the observed FTMG and total magnetic intensity (TMI) data using the developed 3D inversion methods to obtain the subsurface susceptibility and magnetization vector models. Furthermore, we present a comparison of the inversions utilizing the FTMG data and the TMI data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Mineral Exploration Methods and Applications 2022)
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20 pages, 8565 KiB  
Article
Three-Dimensional Inversion of Induced Polarization Effects in Airborne Time Domain Electromagnetic Data Using the GEMTIP Model
by Leif H. Cox, Michael S. Zhdanov, Douglas H. Pitcher and Jeremy Niemi
Minerals 2023, 13(6), 779; https://doi.org/10.3390/min13060779 - 7 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1576
Abstract
This paper discusses the physical and mathematical principles of the airborne induced polarization (IP) method. The possibility of extracting information about the IP properties of rocks from airborne survey data has become a subject of active research recently. We introduce a method for [...] Read more.
This paper discusses the physical and mathematical principles of the airborne induced polarization (IP) method. The possibility of extracting information about the IP properties of rocks from airborne survey data has become a subject of active research recently. We introduce a method for the joint inversion of the airborne EM data into the electrical conductivity and IP parameters based on the generalized effective-medium theory of induced polarization (GEMTIP). We also present the results of the inversion of the airborne EM data collected over the Echum Project Area, in Northwestern Ontario, Canada, into 3D conductivity and chargeability models. Obtaining IP physical property models from an airborne geophysical survey may result in a paradigm change in mineral exploration by pulling more information and value from airborne EM surveys. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Mineral Exploration Methods and Applications 2022)
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17 pages, 18684 KiB  
Article
Seismic Imaging of Mineral Exploration Targets: Evaluation of Ray- vs. Wave-Equation-Based Pre-Stack Depth Migrations for Crooked 2D Profiles
by Brij Singh and Michał Malinowski
Minerals 2023, 13(2), 264; https://doi.org/10.3390/min13020264 - 13 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1486
Abstract
Seismic imaging is now a well-established method in mineral exploration with many successful case studies. Seismic data are usually imaged in the time domain (post-stack or pre-stack time migration), but recently pre-stack depth imaging has shown clear advantages for irregular/sparse acquisitions and very [...] Read more.
Seismic imaging is now a well-established method in mineral exploration with many successful case studies. Seismic data are usually imaged in the time domain (post-stack or pre-stack time migration), but recently pre-stack depth imaging has shown clear advantages for irregular/sparse acquisitions and very complex targets. Here, we evaluate the effectiveness of both ray-based and wave-equation-based pre-stack depth imaging methodologies applied to crooked-line 2D seismic reflection profiles. Seismic data were acquired in the Kylylahti mining area in eastern Finland over severely folded, faulted and subvertical Kylylahti structure, and associated mineralization. We performed 3D ray-based imaging, i.e., industry-standard Kirchhoff migration and its improved version (coherency migration, CM), and wave-equation-based migration, i.e., reverse time migration (RTM) using a velocity model built from first-arrival traveltime tomography. Upon comparing the three different migrations against available geological data and models, it appeared that CM provided the least noisy and well-focused image, but failed to image the internal reflectivity of the Kylylahti formation. RTM was the only method that produced geologically plausible reflections inside the Kylylahti formation including a direct image of the previously known shallow massive sulfide mineralization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Mineral Exploration Methods and Applications 2022)
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14 pages, 6355 KiB  
Article
Crustal Structures of the Qimantagh Metallogenic Belt in the Northern Tibetan Plateau from Magnetotelluric Data and Their Correlation to the Distribution of Mineral Deposits
by Lanfang He, Qinyun Di, Zhongxing Wang, Jianqing Lai, Guoqiang Xue and Wenbo Guo
Minerals 2023, 13(2), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/min13020225 - 4 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1550
Abstract
Crustal structure and fluid or melt originating in the deep crust and mantle are critical in regional magmatic mineral systems. However, the crustal structure and the processes that entrain and focus fluids from a deep-source region to a metallogenic belt remain relatively undisclosed. [...] Read more.
Crustal structure and fluid or melt originating in the deep crust and mantle are critical in regional magmatic mineral systems. However, the crustal structure and the processes that entrain and focus fluids from a deep-source region to a metallogenic belt remain relatively undisclosed. We present a magnetotelluric (MT) study of the eastern Qimantagh Metallogenic Belt (QMB) in the northern Tibetan Plateau. Data from 33 MT stations in two sections and 7 dispersed stations are acquired using a surface electromagnetic prospecting (SEP) system in frequency band ranges from 320 Hz to 0.00034 Hz. Data are converted by Bostick conversion and two-dimensional (2D) nonlinear conjugate gradient inversion. Our MT results reveal the geoelectrical crustal structure of the QMB, which consists of a southern low-resistivity domain that reflects the Kumukuri rift, a high-resistivity middle domain that represents the southern QMB in the central Kunlun belt, and a northern low-resistivity domain that covers the northern QMB and southwestern Qaidam block. We present a comprehensive tectonic and geophysical model of QMB based on the MT interpretation and geological analysis. We infer the high-resistivity domain as a reflection of a rigid crust and detached lithospheric mantle, this belt separate the QMB into northern and southern QMB. Most of the mineral deposits are found in the northern low-resistivity domain of QMB. Our study and findings provide an understanding of the tectonic evolution of the northern Tibetan Plateau, the crustal structure that controls the temporal and spatial distribution of magmatic rocks, and the geological signature associated with mineral deposits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Mineral Exploration Methods and Applications 2022)
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10 pages, 2397 KiB  
Article
Express Assessment of Apatite Content in Apatite–Nepheline Ores of Ultrabasic Alkaline Complexes Based on Its Luminescent Properties (The First Study Stage)
by Darya N. Shibaeva, Alena A. Kompanchenko, Victor V. Bulatov and Danil A. Asanovich
Minerals 2023, 13(1), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/min13010037 - 26 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1478
Abstract
The article presents the results of the first study stage aimed at analyzing the luminescent properties of the main and minor minerals composing the apatite–nepheline ores and host rocks in the deposits of the Khibiny rock massif (Kola Peninsula, Russia). The main purpose [...] Read more.
The article presents the results of the first study stage aimed at analyzing the luminescent properties of the main and minor minerals composing the apatite–nepheline ores and host rocks in the deposits of the Khibiny rock massif (Kola Peninsula, Russia). The main purpose of the work was a search of a stable identification feature providing fast and safe determination of fluorapatite in the mineral mixture of apatite–nepheline ores and solving technological tasks, namely sampling the borehole walls in open pits. The first stage includes studies carried out on pure mono-fractions of four minerals occurring in fluorapatite deposits and possessing obvious luminescent properties: fluorapatite, nepheline, calcite, and sodalite. The authors have revealed luminescence spectra of these minerals and established correlation of their spectral characteristics with the literature data and their consistency. However, the high intensity of sodalite luminescence in a wide band can complicate identification of fluorapatite by the luminescence spectrum in many cases. Therefore, it is reasonable to use the color and intensity of luminescence rather than spectral characteristics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Mineral Exploration Methods and Applications 2022)
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15 pages, 5960 KiB  
Article
Airborne Electromagnetic Survey over the Touro Copper VMS World Class Deposit (NW Spain): Geological and Geophysical Correlation
by Pablo Núñez, Tony Watts, Agustín Martin-Izard, Daniel Arias, Álvaro Rubio, Fernando Cortés and Fernando Díaz-Riopa
Minerals 2023, 13(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/min13010017 - 23 Dec 2022
Viewed by 2004
Abstract
Electromagnetic (EM) methods belong to the main geophysical techniques used in the mineral exploration of massive sulphides. For selecting EM anomalies as possible massive sulphide targets, it is important to combine the geophysical results with other geological and/or geochemical techniques. In 2015, Atalaya [...] Read more.
Electromagnetic (EM) methods belong to the main geophysical techniques used in the mineral exploration of massive sulphides. For selecting EM anomalies as possible massive sulphide targets, it is important to combine the geophysical results with other geological and/or geochemical techniques. In 2015, Atalaya Mining started a new mineral exploration project in the Touro Cu deposit, combining geological, geochemical (ore over 0.2% Cu), and geophysical techniques. The geophysical survey consisted of helicopter-borne EM using the versatile time-domain electromagnetic (VTEM™) max system operated by Geotech Ltd. with full-waveform processing. In total, 509 line-km of geophysical data were acquired during the survey that was completed in 2018. The results showed the massive sulphide Touro ore to be typically of the order of 0.25 ohm·m (4S/m conductivity) and host rock in the range of 1000–30,000 ohm·m, measured directly on the drill core. This modelling agreed well with the sub-horizontal dips observed for the known Touro ore bodies. The conductance modelled by the plate estimation of the VTEM data were also in good agreement with those provided by Geotech Ltd. and the resistivity/conductivity measurements we made on the massive sulphide samples from several Touro ore bodies. The combination of flat dips, good conductance, shallow depth, and, lastly, lack of conductive overburden or noneconomic conductive stratigraphy, i.e., graphitic shales and sulphide iron formation make the Touro project an ideal target for airborne electromagnetic prospecting. This paper presents the excellent correlation observed between the EM airborne anomalies and the massive sulphide blocks of the Touro copper deposit. Favourable factors contributing to the success of the survey were the high contrast in resistivity/conductivity between the massive sulphide Touro ore and the amphibolite host rock and minimal interference from “nuisance” conductors, such as graphitic shales. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Mineral Exploration Methods and Applications 2022)
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22 pages, 29318 KiB  
Article
Grid-Characteristic Method on Overlapping Curvilinear Meshes for Modeling Elastic Waves Scattering on Geological Fractures
by Nikolay I. Khokhlov, Alena Favorskaya and Vladislav Furgailo
Minerals 2022, 12(12), 1597; https://doi.org/10.3390/min12121597 - 12 Dec 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1133
Abstract
Interest in computational methods for calculating wave scattering from fractured geological clusters is due to their application in processing and interpreting the data obtained during seismic prospecting of hydrocarbon and other mineral deposits. In real calculations, numerical methods on structured, regular (Cartesian) computational [...] Read more.
Interest in computational methods for calculating wave scattering from fractured geological clusters is due to their application in processing and interpreting the data obtained during seismic prospecting of hydrocarbon and other mineral deposits. In real calculations, numerical methods on structured, regular (Cartesian) computational grids are used to conserve computational resources though these methods do not correctly model the scattering of elastic waves from fractures that are not co-directed to the coordinate axes. The use of computational methods on other types of grids requires an increase in computational resources, which is unacceptable for the subsequent solution of inverse problems. This article is devoted to a possible solution to this problem. We suggest a novel modification of a computational grid-characteristic method on overlapping curvilinear grids. In the proposed approach, a small overlapping curvilinear grid is placed around a fracture that smoothly merges into the surrounding Cartesian background mesh, which helps to avoid interpolation between the background and overlapping meshes. This work presents the results of testing this method, which showed its high accuracy. The disadvantages of the developed method include the limited types of fractured clusters for which this method can be applied since the overlapping meshes should not intersect. However, clusters of subvertical fractures are usually found in nature; therefore, the developed method is applicable in most cases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Mineral Exploration Methods and Applications 2022)
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16 pages, 7102 KiB  
Article
Inversion and Uncertainty Estimation of Self-Potential Anomalies over a Two-Dimensional Dipping Layer/Bed: Application to Mineral Exploration, and Archaeological Targets
by Ankit Biswas, Khushwant Rao and Arkoprovo Biswas
Minerals 2022, 12(12), 1484; https://doi.org/10.3390/min12121484 - 23 Nov 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1415
Abstract
Self-Potential data have been widely used in numerous applications. The interpretation of SP data from subsurface bodies is quite challenging. The advantages of geophysical inversion for interpreting non-linear geophysical problems have gained a great deal of attention over conventional interpretation. The efficiency of [...] Read more.
Self-Potential data have been widely used in numerous applications. The interpretation of SP data from subsurface bodies is quite challenging. The advantages of geophysical inversion for interpreting non-linear geophysical problems have gained a great deal of attention over conventional interpretation. The efficiency of the present inversion approach in interpreting SP anomalies from a thin dipping layer/bed is presented in the study. The inversion approach was applied to interpret synthetic model parameters such as the self-potential of the layer (k), depth to the body top (h), location of the body (x0), dip angle (θ), and the upper and lower end of the sheet (δ1 and δ2). The interpretation of the results showed that the parameters Δh, δ1, and δ2 exhibited a wide range of results. The estimated parameter values lay within the limit of uncertainty. The inversion approach was also applied to two field datasets obtained from polymetallic deposits in Russia and Azerbaijan for mineral exploration purposes and one from a buried ancient Roman limestone construction in Halutza, Israel, for the purposes of archaeological study. The field investigation results demonstrate a good agreement with previous works of literature. The efficiency of the present approach for interpreting SP anomalies from thin layer/bed-like structures is shown in this study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Mineral Exploration Methods and Applications 2022)
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10 pages, 4272 KiB  
Article
A Near-Source Electromagnetic Method for Deep Ore Explorations
by Guoqiang Xue, Weiying Chen, Xin Wu, Shu Yan and Wenbo Guo
Minerals 2022, 12(10), 1208; https://doi.org/10.3390/min12101208 - 25 Sep 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1715
Abstract
A near-source electromagnetic method known as the short-offset transient electromagnetic (SOTEM) method was proposed. Compared with the traditional far-source methods, the offset of the SOTEM method is greatly reduced, to only 0.3~2 times of the maximum depth. Therefore, the SOTEM can obtain the [...] Read more.
A near-source electromagnetic method known as the short-offset transient electromagnetic (SOTEM) method was proposed. Compared with the traditional far-source methods, the offset of the SOTEM method is greatly reduced, to only 0.3~2 times of the maximum depth. Therefore, the SOTEM can obtain the signal with higher signal-to-noise ratio and sensitivity. Application in the Xiaoshan Mine of Henan Province showed that the SOTEM method is an effective method for deep ore exploration, especially in mountainous areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Mineral Exploration Methods and Applications 2022)
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13 pages, 3764 KiB  
Article
The Heavy Mineral Map of Australia: Vision and Pilot Project
by Patrice de Caritat, Brent I. A. McInnes, Alexander T. Walker, Evgeniy Bastrakov, Stephen M. Rowins and Alexander M. Prent
Minerals 2022, 12(8), 961; https://doi.org/10.3390/min12080961 - 28 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3922
Abstract
We describe a vision for a national-scale heavy mineral (HM) map generated through automated mineralogical identification and quantification of HMs contained in floodplain sediments from large catchments covering most of Australia. The composition of the sediments reflects the dominant rock types in each [...] Read more.
We describe a vision for a national-scale heavy mineral (HM) map generated through automated mineralogical identification and quantification of HMs contained in floodplain sediments from large catchments covering most of Australia. The composition of the sediments reflects the dominant rock types in each catchment, with the generally resistant HMs largely preserving the mineralogical fingerprint of their host protoliths through the weathering-transport-deposition cycle. Heavy mineral presence/absence, absolute and relative abundance, and co-occurrence are metrics useful to map, discover and interpret catchment lithotype(s), geodynamic setting, magmatism, metamorphic grade, alteration and/or mineralization. Underpinning this vision is a pilot project, focusing on a subset from the national sediment sample archive, which is used to demonstrate the feasibility of the larger, national-scale project. We preview a bespoke, cloud-based mineral network analysis (MNA) tool to visualize, explore and discover relationships between HMs as well as between them and geological settings or mineral deposits. We envisage that the Heavy Mineral Map of Australia and MNA tool will contribute significantly to mineral prospectivity analysis and modeling, particularly for technology critical elements and their host minerals, which are central to the global economy transitioning to a more sustainable, lower carbon energy model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Mineral Exploration Methods and Applications 2022)
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