What does it take to find a mine these days? Besides a lot of hard work, it takes a good technical team, enough cash in the kitty, a good property and a lot of luck. And it’s all a bit easier if companies are able to work smarter, not just harder.
In these days when hi-tech seems to pervade every aspect of our work places, prospecting — actually going out into the field and getting your hands and boots dirty — is still a place where low tech ways and techniques can make valuable contributions.
There are probably dozens if not hundreds of tricks or methods that have been used in the past by prospectors and geologists that have helped them find new showings. Here are a few of them:
- Using a beep mat to find a wide quartz vein under 10 feet of overburden in Timmins, Ont.
- Using an old flux gate magnetometer in the hunt for diamonds to locate 24 lamprophyre dikes in Ontario’s Wawa area.
- Using old, very low frequency (VLF) technology to help locate the contact between mafic volcanics and a syenite, and a potential gold bearing zone. The equivalent of a “poor man’s IP.”
- Why a certain mineral is a good indicator of anomalous gold-bearing outcrops.
- Why a prospector’s pick or plain sledgehammer is a poor choice for the serious prospector or field geologist who wants to find a new discovery.
Each prospector, geologist or junior mining company has their own way of determining where they will stake claims and/or prospect for a mine. And that is a closely kept secret. But once that area is chosen, then indeed it helps to learn about other smart ways of doing things and doesn’t hurt to share one’s prospecting and field exploration techniques.
I am planning to give a talk in April at the Northwestern Ontario Mines and Minerals Symposium in Thunder Bay called “Twenty low tech prospecting tips for geologists and prospectors looking for gold and diamonds.”
In preparation, I’m asking any prospectors or geologists who would like to share some of their prospecting tricks and ideas to contact me at (705) 691-5920 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll also be attending the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada convention in Toronto in March.
Many people do not realize the value and importance of prospectors and/or prospecting. They are a valuable asset and component of the mineral exploration industry and are a dying breed … literally and figuratively.
Just something as simple as compiling and sharing prospecting tips for current and future field seasons would be doing the mineral exploration industry a favour.
Frank C. Racicot, P. Geol.